I’ve started digging into my July book haul. Beneath a Scarlet Sky tells the story of Pino Lella, a teen living in Milan, Italy, near the end of World War II. Due to certain events and circumstances, Pino, who doesn’t want anything to do with the war, finds himself part of an underground railroad saving Italian Jews, and driving Nazi generals in staff cars.
The story itself isn’t the type of story I’m used to. Unlike the other fiction WWII novels, this one recounts real events from the memories of a person who lived them. Sullivan does Pino’s memories justice. Despite the events, this novel did not read like a biography. It felt like time-traveling back to 1944. Pino must have gone to great detail retelling his story, because Sullivan writes it in a vivid way. He doesn’t skirt around anything, and the horror isn’t drawn out for dramatic effect.
If there’s one thing I will take away from this novel, it’s the importance of it. Sullivan begins the novel with an introduction to the story. He explains that most texts about WWII skim over the events in Italy. Pino’s story gives readers a peek into Italy during the war. It tells a story that deserved to be written down.
You can read more about the novel on Mark Sullivan’s website.