Gaetano Savatteri was born in Milan in 1964 and lives in Rome.
He is a journalist and writer.
He began his journalistic career at Giornale di Sicilia, then moved to Rome where he collaborates with Tg3 and Tg5.
His books include La congiura dei loquaci (Sellerio, 2000), La ferita di Vishinskij (Sellerio, 2003), I Siciliani (Laterza, 2005), Gli uomini che non si voltano (Sellerio, 2006), La volata di Calò (Sellerio, 2008), Uno per tutti (Sellerio, 2008), I Ragazzi di Regalpetra (Rizzoli, 2009), Strani Nostrani. Stories of Sicilians Out of the Ordinary (Novantacento, 2010), La fabbrica delle stelle (Sellerio, 2016), Non c’è più la Sicilia di una volta (Laterza, 2017), La congiura dei loquaci (Sellerio, 2017), Il delitto di Kolymbetra (Sellerio, 2018), Il lusso della giovinezza (Sellerio, 2020) and I colpevoli sono matti (Sellerio, 2022).
He has also published several short stories in anthologies published by Sellerio. In 2022 he edited, again for Sellerio, the volume “The New Island. Thirty years of writing about Sicily.”
He has published essays and investigations on Cosa Nostra.
In November 2015, the novel of the same name Uno per tutti was made into a film directed by Mimmo Calopresti.
L’isola nuova. Trent’anni di scritture di Sicilia
An author’s anthology of recent Sicilian fiction. More than fifty entries, chosen by Gaetano Savatteri who, with his introductory notes, takes the reader on a thirty-year journey.
For decades Sicily has been a metaphor for Italy and the world, a “litmus test of the inefficiencies, distortions and deficits of all Italy,” Savatteri writes. A complex, deprived land, subject to injustice, where the social, political, folkloric aspects of the Mafia narrative have constituted a genre that has absorbed every other narrative. In the aftermath of the maxiprocess and the season of massacres, however, something changes.
While the decisive game for the holding of national democracy is being played out on the island, Andrea Camilleri begins to write a Sicilian detective story, The Shape of Water. Camilleri belongs to the same literary generation as Sciascia, Bufalino and Consolo, but he is the first to realize that “the listening space for a new Sicilian narrative” has been created. Literature in Sicily then discovers that it has the strength, the flair, the need to accommodate new sensibilities, cultural processes that are partly unseen but enduring.
This is why Gaetano Savatteri, in tracing a cut within the history of the imagery produced by Sicily has chosen to start from that 1992, “from the years of the Mafia massacres, years in which the success of Andrea Camilleri opens wide the doors to a new narrative of Sicily.”
Hence – also from here – the idea of an anthology collecting thirty years of Sicilian writing, in the form of novel, short story, but also investigative writing, film and theater script, poetry and comics through nine thematic chapters. To mention only a few themes and authors, they range from the chapter on not only literary narratives of mafia and antimafia (Bolzoni, Calabrò), to the chapter devoted to island history and stories (Auci, Maraini, Agnello Hornby); from the very rich one on detective stories (Piazzese, Cassar Scalia, Gazzola) to the one on the city (Pif, Vetri, Terranova); and then again the pages that authors such as Calaciura and Scaldati have dedicated to the marginal, or those on migrations to and from the Island (Culicchia, Enia). Without neglecting some voices that seem to observe Sicily, Italy, and the world through an oblique gaze (Vasta, Di Grado, Fumettibrutti). And then again D’Avenia, Melissa P., Emma Dante, Ficarra, Picone, Tornatore, and many others. Thirty years of writing that has reshaped “the powerful theater of suggestions set up from one part of Sicily to another. A theater visible from many parts of the world.”
I colpevoli sono matti
Four investigative adventures with Saverio Lamanna and Peppe Piccionello, the two Sicilian amateur detectives protagonists of “Màkari.” The TV series, directed by Michele Soavi, after the success of the first season, returns in February 2022 with new episodes on Rai 1, starring Claudio Gioè and Domenico Centamore as the Laurel and Hardy pair of the Italian detective story.
“Brilliant, enjoyable, with an enviable vitality, Savatteri is a champion of self-mockery.”
Antonio D’Orrico, la Lettura – Corriere della Sera
The unlikely island investigators imagined by Gaetano Savatteri always inside strange situations and somewhat paradoxical yet not unusual encounters in Sicily, slip into the mystery plot almost unintentionally, but always driven by curiosity to enter the deepest secrets of their land. Beyond the investigation the real purpose of the narrative is to draw a merry-go-round of human characters in their unrepeatable originality. And in support of this observing, investigating and representing life, Savatteri plays the card of irony, an unparalleled champion of a sarcasm that he uses as an antidote against clichés about Sicily and the island’s rhetoric.
Saverio Lamanna, an unemployed journalist and inveterate cold-bloodedness, and Peppe Piccionello, a rocky Sicilian, the one from Màkari, flip-flops, underwear and T-shirt with slogans made in Sicily. Alongside the two, closes a triangle of nosy hounds, Suleima, Marilù’s maid from Bassano del Grappa, Saverio’s flame and now back in the North to work as an architect.
Investigation after investigation, Saverio Peppe and Suleima, with farcical pace, go back up the thread of four cases previously released in themed anthologies and which here, brought together under the same cover, read almost like a single novel in which one laughs nonstop, is sometimes moved, and always under the comic veil human misery is disguised.
Il lusso della giovinezza
Irreverent, passionate and irreverent return with a new adventure the two involuntary investigators, Saverio Lamanna, jobless journalist, sarcastic and realistic, and Peppe Piccionello, his sidekick, confidant and mentor. Between irony and sarcasm, a detective story loaded with social and human reflections.
The old and the young. On this underlying motif Gaetano Savatteri builds the investigation, full of comic energy, of “unemployed, successful journalist Saverio Lamannna” and his sidekick Peppe Piccionello. Steve, an American millionaire determined to invest in Sicily, dies. He was not just a businessman, he was an idealist who wanted to contribute to a salutary shake-up against Catpardesque immobility. Around him was a team of enthusiastic young people who came from all over. Among them is Suleima, Xavier’s beautiful companion who, having gone to console her, happens to be poking around in the activities of the recently deceased entrepreneur. Steve fell off the side of a road, but it is not known how, and it is also not clear how he got there. For Lamanna, too many things do not add up, and he begins to suspect that this was not an accident.
It is also known that two characters, like dark shadows in contrast to the brightness of the young collaborators, loomed over the victim’s life and business path, old Don Cesare and powerful businessman Nicodemo. They look like the old mafia of the countryside and the new mafia of business. Or is it just an appearance?
The setting, in this new installment of the series, is not the azure blue sea of Màkari. But we are in the Madonie Mountains of the ancient town of Castelbuono, which, although only a few kilometers from the sea of Cefalù, is in the mountains in the middle of the snow.
The entire novel is shot through with some crucial questions.
Is it possible in Sicily, Italy’s social laboratory, to have a turnaround in which young people are the protagonists? Is it possible in this glimpse of the millennium for a young person to stay in our country, establish himself professionally and contribute to its development?
Above all, is a dialogue between generations still possible?
Faced with these questions Saverio Lamanna appears totally bewildered; in fact, he crosses the middle age, the one in which tickets are paid full price, with no reductions for either young or old.
Cinquanta in blu. Otto racconti gialli
For the publishing house’s 50th anniversary, several Sellerio authors pulled a book from the catalog off the shelf and retold it in a compelling new storyline. The result was eight extraordinary adventures.
For the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Sellerio publishing house, eight “mystery writers,” companions at different times in our history, recalled a book chosen from the more than three thousand in the catalog, the one that struck each of them for whatever personal reason (not necessarily that they liked it the most), and made it the defining element of a new plot. They wrote a story with a book: where it is from time to time either a kind of motive for a death (so in Marco Malvaldi’s story The End is Known by the mysterious author Holiday Hall); or it is the instrument for a metamorphosis in a person’s life (in Santo Piazzese’s story, Ignazio Buttitta’s poem The True Story of Salvatore Giuliano); or it is taken as the schematic model of an exchange of misunderstandings, the narrative skeleton of a risky affair (this is the case, in Francesco Recami’s short story, of Louise de Vilmorin’s little volume The Jewels of Madame de***); or the moral nourishment that gives the force of doubt necessary to those who investigate (as it is, for Gaetano Savatteri’s two “investigators Laurel and Hardy,” the skeptical apologue of Anatole France’s Prosecutor of Judea); a pure inspiration (that’s what leads Giampaolo Simi to choose Vázquez Montalbán’s Assassination at the Central Committee as a guide to his story of terrorism); the lingering atmosphere of a black underground Palermo (which is what Gian Mauro Costa wants in common with his black intrigue in a grim and romantic affair from Stories and Chronicles of the Underground City by the unforgettable poetic chronicler and theatricalist Salvo Licata); a medicine for a horrendous case of isolation (so is Gesualdo Bufalino’s La luce e il lutto for Fabio Stassi’s bibliotherapist Vince Corso); and finally, an anguish-inducing book that becomes the idea for solving the case (as happens to Carlo Monterossi, Alessandro Robecchi’s amateur who finds himself investigating threatening postcards while reading about those of Hans Fallada’s two little anti-Nazi heroes in Everyone Dies Alone).
The authors of these stories, in pulling a Sellerio book from the shelf to commemorate the publishing house’s 50th year, did not intend to devise a “story about a book,” but attempted to recreate through fiction their nevertheless most vivid reading experience with Sellerio.
Il delitto di Kolymbetra
Famous archaeologist Demetrio Alù is found murdered in Kolymbetra, the enchanted garden of Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples. An unexplained crime, consumed among almond trees, ruins and Saracen olive trees, under the indifferent gaze of the Temple of the Dioscuri. Alù’s death shakes the community of scholars gathered in Agrigento to solve a centuries-old question, the great mystery of the Valley: where to dig to find the ancient buried theater that has never come to light. “Yet it had to be there and a nice big one, too, since Akragas had three hundred thousand inhabitants and was one of the most important cities of Magna Graecia.”
Unemployed successful journalist Saverio Lamanna, away from his buen retiro in Màkari to report on an archaeological discovery, thus finds himself having to unravel the tangled skein of murder. Of quick intuition, with a chronic habit of irritating coldness, Lamanna travels with his friend Peppe Piccionello, who in turn must carry out a small, seemingly simple family matter: track down a young relative who has not heard from her for some time. Missing her and her husband? Almost. A strange, intermittent disappearance, very incomprehensible. A story that smacks of the Mafia.
But Lamanna’s disenchanted lucidity for the first time is clouded by some jealousy business. His girlfriend Suleima, an architect in Milan, has swooped into Agrigento, accompanied by the owner of the firm where she works. It will not be easy for Saverio Lamanna to continue to be irreverent and passionate, icastic and disenchanted as he conducts his svagate and tight-lipped investigations alongside Piccionello: two unintentional investigators endowed only with the weapons of intelligence and irony.
This second novel with the character of Xavier Lamanna (to which one must add the short stories in the various collections published by this publisher) is increasingly eventful and irreverent. The author uses a double narrative key. On the one hand, a nonstop humor, made of jokes and counter-senses that flog all the most pop clichés; on the other, a kind of “Sicily as metaphor,” a mirror of a world of inequalities and miseries. A fictional form of direct chronicle from the Island, of its wretchedness, its plagues, its daily sinking into the surreal that no one feels like noticing. Sicily à la Alfred Jarry: an absurd place within a fierce world.
Un anno in giallo
A Year in Yellow collects 12 short stories, one for each month of the year; each author has chosen “his” month, setting there, in that time of the year, a story with “his” detective. Opening the collection with the month of January is, of course, Andrea Camilleri, the progenitor, the one who has imprinted the mystery novel with an unrepeatable mark, creating with Inspector Montalbano a character who is firmly established in the minds and hearts of his endless readers from all over the world.
Then, month after month, all the other detectives: the institutional ones like Antonio Manzini’s Vice-Petty Officer Schiavone, Inspector Petra Delicado with Alicia Giménez-Bartlett’s Vice Fermín. The detectives by chance: the very Sicilian Saverio Lamanna and Lorenzo La Marca so similar to their authors, Gaetano Savatteri and Santo Piazzese, the bibliotherapist Vince Corso invented by Fabio Stassi, the TV author Carlo Monterossi, a character by Alessandro Robecchi, and Kati Hirschel, the bookseller from Istanbul, home of Esmahan Aykol. Finally, the choral investigators: the condominium of the railing house headed by Francesco Recami’s Amedeo Consonni and Marco Malvaldi’s goliardic old men of the BarLume.
Two characters make their appearance here for the first time: the lawyer Cornelia Zac, the product of Simonetta Agnello Hornby’s imagination and legal profession, and the policewoman Angela Mazzola, serving in the anti-robbery section of Palermo’s Mobile, the brainchild of Gian Mauro Costa. The two new detectives we become acquainted with in this anthology will soon be the protagonists of novels.
An exceptional publishing event: after a month in the company of Montalbano, a whole year with the detectives of the Sellerio house for the first time together with 12 unpublished short stories.
“The new school of the Italian giallo is Sellerio-branded. It was not born under a cabbage. It has behind it the tradition of Sciascia and Camilleri, and the infallible taste of Elvira Sellerio, who knew that to give discipline to writers as maximally undisciplined as Italian writers there was no better structure than that, very solid but very elastic, of noir.”
Antonio D’Orrico, LA LETTURA – CORRIERE DELLA SERA
“Praise to the publishers who don’t just look in the mail receipt but bring books to life – to the thoroughbreds of the stable of mystery writers from Camilleri to Giménez-Bartlett, via Malvaldi, Recami, Costa, Manzini…”
Luciano Genta, TTL – LA STAMPA
Non c’è più la Sicilia di una volta
The image of Sicily is linked to so many masterpieces of literature and cinema of the past. Great Sicilian authors have left indispensable pages and made the island metaphor, emblem, paradigm. But reading Sicily through their eyes is like walking around with a nineteenth-century travel guide. Just as-after the popular reaction following the 1992 massacres and after the state’s successes in the fight against crime-the identification between Sicily and the Mafia no longer works. Choosing precisely 1992 as its starting date, the book offers a new and updated snapshot of the island, in which the continuity of traditions coexists with extreme modernity. It starts with food and wine: it is 1994 when Commissioner Montalbano first opens the door of the trattoria San Calogero in Vigàta, contributing to the success of the island’s gastronomic tradition. And it is in 1992 that a great oenologist travels Sicily in search of native grape varieties, ‘inventing’ Nero d’Avola. But there is also an island of sex and eroticism (few know that the first Italian section of Arcigay was born there). Today’s Sicily is still that of Greek ruins, but also of the most extensive contemporary art parks in Europe, such as Fiumara d’Arte, Gibellina or Farm Cultural Park. The image of Corleone is flanked by an urban and metropolitan Sicily. There is the Sicily of landing and welcoming. The Sicily that hates Sicily. Savatteri’s journey debunks some commonplaces and breaks down numerous prejudices. Does everything in Sicily change so that everything remains as it is? With good grace from The Leopard, not so: on the island, almost everything has changed.
La fabbrica delle stelle
Saverio Lamanna is a disillusioned journalist turned political communicator. He is at home in the Rome of casual flirtations and trendy clubs, in the smart suit of the disengaged 40-year-old. But a professional stumble shatters his house of cards. Fired by the undersecretary whose spokesman he was, he is forced to return to his native Sicily and take refuge in his family’s seaside villa in Màkari. In this temporary landing place, Lamanna finds Peppe Piccionello, a local specimen in his underwear and flip-flops, loaded with practical and ancient wisdom. And in Trapani’s seaside paradise he meets Suleima, a girl who might even make him happy. Born and bred in four short stories included in as many collections by this publisher, Lamanna has a ready wit, an idiosyncrasy to the clichés and especially the prejudices, even the positive ones, that revolve around Sicilians. To make a living he invents small trades, even deciding to become a mystery writer. The tiny local celebrity gets him a few atypical jobs. A rich lady hires him to keep an eye on his younger sister, behind the screen of a film production’s press office. So Saverio Lamanna, with his unlikely sidekick Piccionello, bursts into the Venice Film Festival: both move casually among American stars, famous directors and red carpets.
Il calcio in giallo
With a slight bitterness that soon becomes social denunciation and a desire to unmask the intrigues that stifle Italy’s most beloved sport, the Sellerio detectives set out to prove themselves, each with character, method and their lives behind them, as readers who have followed them in the major novels know them.
In soccer, it is the minor divisions that preserve the most interesting human stories. So the criminal flashes and quick detective plots published here, starring some of the most compelling investigators of the new Italian giallo (this is the tenth anthology Sellerio has dedicated to themed crimes), all take place in that world. To discover that perhaps there is nothing left of sports there, except the memory of playing on the playground as children.
With this, slight, bitterness that soon becomes social denunciation and a desire to unmask the intrigues that stifle the most beloved sport, the different detectives test themselves, each with character, method and their lives behind them, as readers who have followed them in the major novels know them.
Inspector Petra Delicado of the Barcelona police, the protagonist of the famous series invented by Spain’s Alicia Giménez-Bartlett; electrician Enzo Baiamonte, whom Palermo’s Gian Mauro Costa takes to investigate in the diners and stores of his working-class neighborhood; the pensioner Consonni and the others of the Casa di Ringhiera whom this time author Francesco Recami confronts with a kind of violent thriller; the unemployed journalist Saverio Lamanna whom his creator Gaetano Savatteri often and willingly snatches, in order to follow his mysteries, from the obligatory retreat on the Sicilian sea of Màkari; the Vecchietti del BarLume, by mystery-humorist Marco Malvaldi, who stick their gossipy investigative noses into women’s soccer; the gloomy, murky, charming, tender Rocco Schiavone, a Romanaccio deputy detective whom author Antonio Manzini chastised in that of Aosta at the head of a dangerous team; the bookseller Kati Hirschel, by Turkish writer Esmahan Aykol, a German rooted in Istanbul on adventurous rides amid the crowds of the suggestive metropolis of choice.
They are the ones who behind the amusement of the match must unveil the cynical design to be unmasked, the unscrupulous business dealings, the absurdity of the crime, or a despicable collective obsession.