Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Witches

One of the good things I managed to do this month has been delivering (finally) the translation of my friend Francesca’s book about witches in Lombardy. Now the translation is in her hands – she’ll have to check I got all the plant names and other technicalities right, and then the book will hit the Amazon shelves.
We hope to have it out by Halloween.

The book is quite interesting, as it is a mix of brief essays and short stories, providing insight on many of the stories and legends – but also historical facts – about witchcraft in Northern Italy and in particular in Lombardy and in the Lake Como area.

When the book becomes available, I’ll make sure to put a shout-out here on my blog – this has been one of the most fun, most pleasant jobs I’ve done in 2020, and helped keep desperation at bay.
It will be good to have the book out for public consumption – Francesca deserves all the success she’ll certainly have.


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Trouble during lockdown

In the early spring of 2020, Italy went in total lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the situation was dramatic in the cities, and the body-count skyrocketed, the countryside had it relatively light. It’s just a matter of waiting for the curve to flatten.

Holed up in his battered trailer in the old junkyard outside of Nizza Monferrato, Buscafusco is set to weather the pandemic with a big stash of old paperbacks, a selection of jazz records, and some prime provisions for his lonely dinners. Quiet and relax at last, at least for a while.
But trouble, just like rust, never sleeps.
And now everybody’s wearing a mask.

BUSCAFUSCO: Health & Safety

A global pandemic is not enough to keep a good man down.

April crawled into the hills of Astigianistan, bringing rainstorms and a preview of the summer’s heat and humidity, and everybody was suddenly feeling the desperate need to hug somebody, or go out for a drink with some hypothetical friends or, missing that, to call someone on the telephone and waste their time.
“What are you having for dinner?”
Matilde Ciambotti’s voice was tired, and raw. The voice of someone that’s done too much face time over the web.
“Bacon fraze,” I said.
I placed the bowl with the batter on the table by the phone, and looked around for the spatula.
“Sounds unhealthy,” she said.
“I don’t care for the sound, I’m here for the taste.”
“Very funny,” she said. She did not sound amused.
“What do you need?”
“A vacation,” she replied.
“Don’t we all…”

The fourth Buscafusco novella features two intertwined cases for the only man the hill tribes fear.

Coming soon-ish.