The Color Inside a Melon


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
Dzanc Books
Publish Date
5.4 X 1.0 X 8.5 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

John Domini's exploration of the place--little known to North Americans, yet rich in culture and challenge--draws on decades of research, living with local friends and family. His work has appeared previously in the New York Times and elsewhere, and he's published award-winning Neapolitan novels.


"John Domini enters the world of African immigrants in Naples living on the edge of the law, in a gripping, noir-ish thriller written in prose that somehow manages to be both elegant and hard-boiled. An absorbing read."
-Salman Rushdie

"The Color Inside a Melon is about a man consumed by secrets and lies in a city on the edge. Disguised as a murder mystery, it twists, turns, then coils into a scorpion's sting."
--Marlon James, Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

"A dark, brisk-paced, and intriguing--if sometimes slightly ungainly--hybrid. ... A dark, buzzing, sometimes-chaotic literary noir written in lively and often elegant prose with an intriguing meditation on immigration and assimilation at its center."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A brisk, literary mystery that marries art and the investigation of a murder with questions of immigration, race, and class. Domini is at the top of his game in what may be the surprise hit of the summer."
--The Nervous Breakdown

"What a dazzling cast of desperate characters Domini serves up in his post-earthquake depiction of Naples, an international maelstrom of refugees, criminals, and artists. Lawless ambition threatens to destroy the life of this city, but like the best authors and the best men, Domini fights to make room for justice and human dignity."
--Bonnie Jo Campbell, National Book Award finalist and author of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters

"Domini tells the story of Risto, a Somali orphan now become a successful gallerist in Naples, in the process producing a compelling portrait of African immigrants and refugees in Italy while reinvigorating the murder mystery genre and illuminating the complexities of a twenty-first century marriage. In so doing, he draws his Neapolitan trilogy to a close, with the poetic compression and painterly verve that has become a hallmark of his impressive oeuvre."
--John Keene, MacArthur Fellow and author of Counternarratives

"An ambitiously conceived, utterly original novel. This book is a puzzle--all the elements from the knife-edged prose to the absorbing plot are intricately linked in service of a larger narrative. Risto's quest to find his countryman's murderer is also his quest to reconcile his dual identities as a Naples resident and businessman and a refugee of war-torn Somalia. But more than this, this book examines the formation of self and the sacrifices required to find a place called home."
--Allison Amend, author of Enchanted Islands

"Part literary noir, part detective story and set in Domini's beloved Naples, The Color Inside a Melon addresses the issues of our age head on: race, class, and violence. The real mystery being unwound in the piazzas and dark underbelly of old Italy is humanity's true nature and bottomless capacity to love and hate one another.."

"At once an erudite and urbane detective story, an unlikely love story, a mordant cultural history of today's Naples, a gritty and compassionate portrait of both its demimonde and its new immigrant underclass, and a meditation on the resourcefulness with which outsiders, in their high-wire attempts to thrive, can push back on the very machinery that betrays them."
--Jim Shepard, National Book Award finalist for Like You'd Understand, Anyway

"The Color Inside a Melon is a barbed and scintillating take on Naples at its margins, a noirish journey through a world not just glimpsed from outside but enlivened from within with remarkable brio."
-Zachary Lazar, author of Vengeance and Sway

"What a timely novel John Domini has delivered. More importantly, what a magnificent work of art The Color Inside a Melon is--an absolute tour de force with life bursting from each line. These pages don't speak. They sing."
-Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World and The Realm of Last Chances

"One of those rare novels full of secrets and mystery that will keep you thinking long after you're finished turning the pages. Full of rich humor, the novel follows Risto's adventures as he tries to uncoil a murder that too quickly consumes his life. Domini proves once again he is among the strongest writers of contemporary fiction working today. I loved it."
--Brandon Hobson, National Book Award finalist and author of Where the Dead Sit Talking

"Culture, conflict, character, color--the stuff of real life swirls through Domini's new novel, and it will take your breath away even as it buoys you up and bears you along."
-Jon Clinch, author of FINN and KINGS OF THE EARTH

"Question: Is there a white American writer from Des Moines, Iowa, audacious enough to write a novel from the perspective of a successful black African refugee from Mogadishu, Somalia, living in Naples, Italy, with an eye toward exploring race and culture via a literary murder mystery? Answer: yes, there is. His name is John Domini, and the novel is The Color inside a Melon. Domini is fearless, his prose is brilliant, and The Color inside a Melon is relentlessly engaging."
--Ed Falco, author of Wolf Point and Saint John of the Five