What Hell Is Not (Hardcover)

By Alessandro D'Avenia, Jeremy Parzen (Translator)

ONEWorld Publications, 9781786072757, 304pp.

Publication Date: January 24, 2019

Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (1/24/2019)
MP3 CD (1/24/2019)

List Price: 24.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A heart-rending story of deprivation and resilience in mafia-run Palermo

'Take away love and you will have hell, you used to say to me, Don Pino. Give love and you will have what hell is not.'

Sicily, 1993. Fear rules the streets of Palermo. Teenage boys patrol the narrow streets armed with AK-47's, marking out the territory of their mafia bosses. This is what hell is.

Federico, a privileged local boy, is asked by his teacher, Don Pino, to help out at the youth club he runs in one of the most destitute areas of the city. A tangle of alleys controlled by men with nicknames like the Hunter, it is also where kids like Francesco, Lucia, and Tot never give up hope for a different life. Over that long hot summer, far removed from his familiar surroundings, a new world opens up for Federico, but when Don Pino is murdered, the future of the kids is entrusted to his young hands.

Based on real events, What Hell is Not is a heartrending story of deprivation and resilience that ultimately demonstrates the transformative power of small acts of love.

About the Author

Alessandro D'Avenia teaches Ancient Greek, Latin and Literature at a high school in Milan. His debut novel, White as Milk, Red as Blood, was translated into twenty-one languages and turned into a film. Together with his second novel, it spent three years on the Italian fiction top ten bestseller list, selling more than one million copies in Italy alone. What Hell Is Not is his third novel. Jeremy Parzen studied Italian at UCLA. He is a translator, blogger, musician and wine writer. He lives in Houston, Texas.