Between the Cracks: one woman’s journey from Sicily to America
By Carmela Cattuti
Genre: Historical Fiction
Join Angela Lanza as she experiences the tumultuous world of early 20th century Sicily and New York. Orphaned by the earthquake and powerful eruption of Mt. Etna in 1908, Angela is raised in the strict confines of an Italian convent. Through various twists of fate, she is married to a young Italian man whom she barely knows, then together with her spouse, immigrates to the U.S.
About the Author
Carmela Cattuti started her writing career as a writer for the Somerville News in Boston, MA. She is a writer, painter, and yoga instructor in Boston. After she finished her graduate work in English Literature at Boston College, she began to writer creatively. As fate would have it, She felt compelled to writer her great aunt’s story. Between the Cracks and The Ascent have gone through many incarnations and will become a trilogy. The Ascent is the second novel.
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A cross from Italy’s mainland sat the city of Messina like an indomitable fortress. Proud of its solid presence, Messina was the travelers’ first encounter with the island of Sicily. The earthy colors of the buildings and landscape signaled to the visitor or returning Sicilian that Messina and its people belonged to the island, not to any outside political force or cultural tradition. The clang of the donkey-drawn carts and the voices calling out to customers to buy wares in the market added to the music of the city’s sounds. Visitors marveled out loud at the cathedrals and ancient art work throughout the city, but the locals walked and spoke softly, especially near the narrow slits between the buildings. Visitors delighted in the snake-like movement of the streets. The streets seemed to lead directly to a famous church or street market but then would slowly veer off in a different direction. They seemed to be designed to intentionally confuse. The city offered no help in arriving at a specific destination. Ancient buildings were so close together that air barely squeezed through. Residents believed that between the buildings old mysteries sat, holding the true essence of Messina. Whenever one of the townspeople walked close to the openings, there seemed to be a whisper, not a sound you could hear with your physical ears but heard in your mind. The whisper seemed to convey a yearning that had been imprisoned for hundreds of years. When this happened, people scurried past, heads down, attempting to get away from the whispers in their heads.
Angela ran down the hot cobblestone street and fell, scrambled to her feet and ran, then fell again. She threw herself on the street and screamed a long scream that echoed off the ruins of the ancient churches. A timeless scream that would always and forever be heard. Her city, Messina, was a massive graveyard. She searched for her family—her mother, sister and brother. She yelled their names into the air, into demolished houses. She screamed at bodies crushed or run through by fallen beams. Other bodies were caught between the open earth and the street. They were the souls in hell that she had seen in paintings, forever in agony, never at peace.