Monday, March 11, 2013

The A-Z of Understanding Italians

Authors are so versatile. One moment Steve Emmett is producing acclaimed horror novels such as the gripping Diavolino which has been described as: "a devilishly delicious read" and "couldn't put it down", the next he's writing a book called (wait for it, because believe me it's worth waiting for):

It is irreverent, I read it. I also laughed myself silly right from page one. That man has a wicked sense of humor!
I was intrigued about this sudden change of genre so I asked Steve about it and why he wrote it. Here's what he said (and, as it says on the cover, be aware that Steve is very politically incorrect!):

Steve Emmett (from his site)

In case you want to know why I wrote a funny book in between my works of horror, the real answer is that I was asked to. Not, sadly, by a big publisher (hint) but by friends like Susan Roebuck with whom I chat online. Sue in fact, if she tells me the truth, fights for breath and at some of the things I say. “You have such a wicked sense of humour,” she said, “you should write comedy.” Well, I do have a humorous novel on the back burner – I started it ages ago – which is based on my exploits in Italy as an estate agent. I met some characters, I can tell you, from the life enhancing to the vomit inducing and the outright crooked. So, you will get to meet the best ones in time, but I do have horror novels to get out first. That, then, is why I published this little eBook, a naughty take on my friends in Italy. It gives you a flavour of what is to come, it might help you if you go there on holiday, and it confirms I am still alive in the time between the publication of Diavolino and my second novel. And anyway, why can’t lovers of horror also have a laugh? Muahahahaha…

The A-Z of Understanding Italians doesn’t purport to be a serious guide. It’s full of dangerously sweeping generalisations, but all in the best possible taste. Still, I did rather have my fingers crossed when I released it and watched for the returns on Amazon with baited breath. There have been very few, even in Italy, so maybe it has been taken as intended.

One of the warnings I have included is that of the Fiat Panda driven by an old man in a hat. When you see this car driven by a man like this, drive with supreme caution.

Even worse can be the three-wheeler (where I lived there was a teenager drove around in one of these all heavily pimped with huge stainless steel exhausts and yellow crash bars – and a one million decibel stereo system).

That Italians are bad drivers has almost become a cliché. To tell the truth, they are not bad drivers any more than we are, it’s just that they can be extraordinarily aggressive and lacking any sense of danger or self-preservation. Even the mildest-mannered Italian can morph into a vicious psychopath behind the wheel and, with the Virgin Mary listening from her suspended position on his rear-view mirror, will spew out ear crushing expletives at the driver of the car in front.

Drivers fit into two groups. Those who never get out of first gear even on the motorway, and those whose right feet never let the accelerator break contact with the car floor. The police try all kinds of tricks to catch speeders – cameras, satellite tracking, and recently they purchased two Lamborghini Gallardos.

But a car chase is a bit of fun to some. Sadly, I have heard that the police are now down to one Lamborghini

I’ve seen some spectacular accidents, not all of which have been caused by just speed. Like the car upside down on the skip which I mention in the eBook, or the new Mercedes S-Class standing almost vertical, nose in the air and boot in the drainage ditch because the driver had reversed off the edge of his own drive.
From The Daily Telegraph

Even parking has its drawbacks. Here is a picture which you might think is an accident. Well, not in the strictest sense. This demonstrates standard parking procedure in a city centre. You find a space of more or less the right size, then shunt the car behind and in front to make room for your own. Who cares about a few bumps and scratches?

I also mention tax and the national pastime of trying not to pay it. I remember a heated discussion with my then business partner about the subject and he said, “You have to understand that Italians do not trust politicians to run the country. The people who have the power are crooks and bastards. Any taxes will be wasted or stolen. We have to keep as much as we can to look after ourselves.” Perhaps the present post-election drama is a symptom of this?
Billionaire Clown 

Millionaire Clown 

Shocked? Just remember, Italy is not Britain (or anywhere else!). Business is business. Would you see this road sign at the end of your road?

The A-Z of Understanding Italians is available only from Amazon either to purchase for next-to-nothing or to borrow for free on Amazon Prime.


If you'd like to read "The A-Z of Understanding Italians" (and I promise you'll learn quite a bit from it!) here are the links:


  1. The one on the roof is what I call really bad accident.
    Aggressive drivers? Maybe I have some Italian in me then.
    Good luck with the book, Steve! It sounds hilarious.

  2. I loved this book - and the recipe for ragu!

  3. Sounds like a really good to read. Another one to put on my TBR list.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  4. It is a good read.

  5. LOL. I thought this was going to be an introduction to your A to Z theme. :)

    This is even better. Who knew they had prostitute crossing signs in Italy. I wonder if they move in flocks?

  6. Scary that Steve is politically incorrect, Margaret? LOL. Ha! I know, LG I thought about that too.


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