Aged seven, Francesco Scannella's world turns upside down when he is uprooted from his English suburban home, and sent to the heartland of the Cosa Nostra. He quickly forgets that he ever spoke English and survives by the sharpness of his wit and the strength of his fists, adopting the machismo ways of his elders. Every day is a fight for survival, gang violence is the norm, and the Mafia rules. In this compelling memoir, Francesco Scannella throws open a window on the true nature of Sicilians, explains how and why they turn to the Mafia and how desperate life was at the time. In Francesco Scannella we are introduced to a strong new narrative voice, which tells with wry humour and brutal honesty of tragic young love; of how a school friend became an assassin; of politics and philosophy, cookery and cryptozoology. Frank Sinatra makes an appearance, as does the father of the modern Mafia, Don Calo Vizzini.
Sicilian Shadows, Francesco Scannella's first book, is a compelling story of the loss of innocence, a homage to a homeland, and a history lesson about one of the most misunderstood societies in the world: light years away from cosmopolitan Palermo and the paparazzi glitz of 1960s Italy.
Born in Surrey, Francesco (Frank) Scannella has done a lot of different things, most of which he's proud of. He's worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, helped to create the Beanie Baby craze, funded Sportsbag - one of the first ever weekly 'lads mags' - and won a national advertising award. He has an honours degree from Newport, Wales, a passion for American comics and has played football at a high level. He's not a man who lets life pass him by. And he is most proud of his quarter-of-a century marriage and his three children - and perhaps his full head of hair. He still lives little more than a mile from where he was born, and every morning visits his mother and sits and drinks his bowl of latte 'e caffe as he has done since his first visit to Sicily, all those years ago.