"Fear of the Past", the novel by Claude Nougat.
The rise and fall of a powerful family through 900 years of Sicilian History and the unbearable burden it places on the last descendant... A coming of age story and a family saga, FEAR OF THE PAST raises the central issue of nature vs. nurture. Are we the products of our family's past? Can we escape our genetical inheritance?
Tony, a young American video game creator, suffers from burnout and goes searching for his family roots in Sicily. Walking in an abandoned palazzo, he falls in a Time Trap where he meets the ghosts of his forebears - all historical characters who helped shape Sicily's History, including the Duchess of Floridia, a famous 18th century beauty who married the King of Naples.
In Book 1, FORGET THE PAST, Tony discovers he has more in common with an English adventurer who settled in Sicily in the 18th century than with his own father. He shares with him a star-crossed love for the beautiful Duchess of Floridia and worries he may be destined for failure in his own life, just as the Englishman was in his.
In Book 2, RECLAIM THE PRESENT, Tony has an unexpected and terrible accident that pulls him back to Sicily in the year 1908 when the family fortunes collapsed. Can he change the family's destiny or is he trapped in the role of a helpless witness?
In Book 3, REMEMBER THE FUTURE, Tony tries to shed the past and make his life his own. With the help of a lovely Sicilian woman who looks like the Duchess but is an independent, career-oriented woman clearly belonging to the 21st century, he creates an innovative social media network, the "Chat Club". Can he protect his creation and save the woman he loves from the Sicilian mafia and violent Russian hackers?
When the early version of this book came out in Italian (under the title Un Amore Dimenticato published in Sicily , 2007), it earned praise from literary critics in the main Sicilian journals (excerpts):
Pino Nucifora in « Diario Siracusa »: “To dream with open eyes through Time …This well-written book is set in modern-day Sicily but travels through time. It is born from the idea that in every new love there is always the reflection of a forgotten one, because we all carry within ourselves fragments of the past…”
Arturo Messina in « Libertà »: “It is a historical novel without being one…The story is told in a non-historical manner: emotional, but above all fantastic, surreal, meta-psychical, out of time and reality…”
Lucia Corsale in « La Sicilia : “An authentic excursion in the past that enables the protagonist to ‘view’ certain historic events...”
…A family saga spanning nine centuries is interwoven with a contemporary coming of age story with such skill that suspension of belief is without effort. Author Nougat uses a supernatural device to do this that is reminiscent of Dante's Purgatory...(Author R.Lee Holz)
…I found fascinating the author's approach to having the main character discover his family history. The book is a bit Alice in Wonderland, a bit Dante's Inferno, and a lot about coming of age and self-discovery. (Author Joseph Badal)
…Unlike anything I have ever read… The stories were easy to visualize and I would love to see this book made into a movie (Author Suzy Turner)
…a beautifully written, very visual and entertaining story. Good read not only for teenagers but also more grown up people who are on a lookout for something different… (Author and Film Maker Magda Olchawska)
…What I liked most is that this book is symbolic of universal emotions and human foibles, sometimes making them larger than life…This book will read easily and keep you thinking (Author Karen Rose Smith)
…a paranormal, romance with a historical dimension that takes you into the beautiful island of Sicily… (Author Faith Mortimer)
… This is more than a paranormal romance: it has a historical dimension that takes you into the spirit of the Sicilian soul!... It is the best novel I read on Sicily since Tommasi di Lampedusa's The Leopard. (Giuseppe Bonanno)
… This is an offbeat and delightfully entertaining book, well worth reading. (D A Parsons "Dolly")
…Are we products of the surroundings or of the past? This story takes nature v. nurture to the basic core of our existence... I really enjoyed this story because it made history come alive. (Barbara Ell)
…This could be the Harry Potter of history for adults and teens looking for fantasy, romance and history rolled into one. It's a page turner… (P.Inez Erica Impie).
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