6 x 9
The Emperor of Ice-Cream tells the moving tale of an Italian family living in Scotland during the rise of Mussolini and his rule in Italy. The story is told from the point of view of Lucia, the family’s daughter, who, at 83, reflects on her childhood. Her tale leads inexorably through the rise of Fascism to the terrible moment in June 1940 when Mussolini declared war on Britain, resulting in the internment of British Italians. Two of Lucia’s brothers, Giulio and Emilio, judged to be “enemy aliens,” are forced aboard the Arandora Star, the ship that is to lead them into exile. However, the ship is sunk by a U-boat, and only one of the brothers survives. Lucia is writing now, belatedly, to try to reconcile herself to her past, and as a tribute to her beloved lost brother.
The Emperor of Ice-Cream is a novel about family, about being an immigrant and dealing with bigotry, about religious sectarianism, political idealism, and disillusionment, about sibling love and sibling rivalry, and about regret, poetry, and war. And of course, it is also about ice cream.