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A different view of the world

Maltese scholar Oliver Friggieri says that the 20 identical short stories in Carmel Conti’s book Ix-Xalpa Turkwas (The turquois scarf) offer a subjective picture and visual interpretations aimed at contributing to the complex version the author has of the world. The short stories, he continues in the introduction to the book, can be read as sketches that have or do not have a different meaning to their true significance. The author points out that the short stories – only two are longer than 2,00 words – are all different, some humorous, others somewhat shocking and a few thought-provoking. He makes the standard warning: all situations are fictitious and any similarities with real life are purely coincidental, apart, that is, from the case of Belle, the author’s faithful dog.

Roman Hills romance

Therese Vella’s first novel, Frascati, tells a fictitious story but her personal experiences did contribute to her writing. Frascati and the surrounding towns are in an area called The Roman Hills, where the author lived for 10 years. The village in Abruzzo, mentioned towards the end of the story, is where her in-laws grew up. So, in her work, Vella tried to depict what she experienced: the beauty of the localities and the problems they withhold. The main characters are Chiara and Silvio, who decide on a marriage without children. They may be unconventional, but the reader is likely to relate to their values, weaknesses and emotions.

Extracurricular online bullying

Nicole is relieved when ‘the others’ move to another school because she just could not take their bullying any more. But she is wrong. The bullying incidents change and are now taking place online. The police must intervene and Nicole’s character changes... In Ritratt bla Ħsieb, Lorraine Galea again treats the topic featured in her previous book, Buli, though this one tackles online bullying. Buli was addressed at those aged 10 upwards and their carers, and the new publication is suited for more mature readers, beyond the age of 14.

Wildlife conversations

An owl speaks to a little rabbit, and a ladybird and a beetle engage in conversation in In-Nannakola u l-Ħanfusa (The ladybird and the beetle) helping young readers to draw a message and, perhaps, also reach out to poetry, because every story in the book ends with a few rhyming lines. Anthony Farrugia’s book is also meant to help children to learn Maltese words and, thus, love and respect their mother tongue.

Composer’s musical strengths

In his book Francesco Azopardi (1748-1809): Maltese Classical Composer and Theorist, Dion Buhagiar wants to de­monstrate that the prolific composer was in touch with the mainstream ideas of the most important European musical centres of his time. The strength of Azopardi’s music lay in the fact that it was always written with a specific purpose or commemoration in mind. However, he was more inclined at composing music for the cathedral, in line with his role as Maestro di Cappella, and also teaching composition.

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