Book Reviews

The House That Nino Built by Don Camillo

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Hardcover: Pages.

Published: 1953 by Victor Gollancz Ltd

Edition: First Edition



Collected vignettes featuring a stylized version of the Don Camillo author's family and painting a humorous picture of middle-class life in post-War Italy. The stories, translated by Frances Frenaye, originally appeared in Italian periodicals.


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Light and funny

“The House that Nino Built” by Giovanni Guareschi is translated from the Italian by Frances Frenaye. It’s a very slim volume of short humorous stories about the author’s family life. It was written in the 1950s when the author was particularly known worldwide for his series of books featuring the Roman Catholic priest Don Camillo.

I did enjoy this book of stories very much, and I have enjoyed the Don Camillo books in the past. The writer and his obviously heavily fictionalised family experience a number of domestic crises such as losing the cat or being locked out of their new house in the country. Each one is resolved in two or three pages and some of them are laugh out loud funny. The humour comes from the situations and not from humiliating the characters; in fact, they are portrayed with great affection and almost pride.There are a couple of moments that remind you of its Italian setting especially when the author starts speaking about Communist local government or the book describes typical food.

If you do come across a copy (this is out of print at the time of writing) I encourage you to read it. It is light and amusing and rather reminded me of the amusing biographies of Gerald Durrell.

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