Beneath a Scarlet sky by mark sullivan

For those of you who read my previous post, I’ve been struggling to find a decent book to read lately. This is next month’s book club pick because others I know have raved about it.

I’ve read many WWII historical fiction novels lately. I love this time period and genre. Every time I read a new book on this topic, I learn something about that time period that I didn’t know before. That’s the joy of reading, isn’t it? In Beneath a Scarlet Sky, I also learned some things. This story is set in Italy during the war and I’ve not found many books of this time set in that country. This is also a fictionalized account of a true story. Pino Lella, the main character is a real guy and this is his story.

While the story was interesting the story telling was not. I found this book to be a whole lot of telling the reader what is going on instead of showing us and letting the reader picture the true face of war in their imaginations. The poor writing left this story gasping for air. When I start skimming, I know I’m in trouble.

This book has so much hype and is being made into a movie. As a writer, again I’m dumbfounded as to how this book became a best seller. As an author who dreams of this kind of success, I might have set too high a standard for myself. Do I have to settle for a book, poorly written? Has the intelligence of the reader sunk to these kinds of lows?

I hope there are books out there that are interesting, engaging, funny, emotional, waiting for me to enjoy them. But right now I’m struggling to find one worth my time.


One thought on “Beneath a Scarlet sky by mark sullivan

  1. “This is also a fictionalized account of a true story. Pino Lella, the main character is a real guy and this is his story.”

    Turns out the novel is very far from what the author claims and definitely oughtn’t be marketed as BoTS. (I could live with “inspired by” because that technically – though not ethically/morally in this case – serves as carte blanche to the author to do pretty much whatever they please.)

    Unfortunately, Sullivan chose to take extreme measures to ensure readers not only suspended disbelief but all too often were propelled to a state of absolute belief. There are countless reviews touting it as nonfiction instead of “fully dramatized” “biographical and historical fiction” – two facts in the often-skipped Preface made all-but meaningless by numerous false and misleading assertions, and lies by omission and commission … ending with the whopper that it “hews closely to what happened to” Lella. (Outside the book, he offers up many more deceits, including pretending to ‘guesstimate’ that it’s “90% true”.)

    It’s A story, but turns out that a remarkably small portion of it materially reflects Lella’s true (hi)story in terms of experiences and activities.  There is plenty to review out (t)here on the topic.[1]

    I suppose the success may be attributed to the awesome power of Amazon algorithms on behalf of Lake Union, with a hefty dose of bot-generated ratings (a phenomenon noticed via GoodReads, which lasted on and off for a couple of years … long after they were no longer necessary). ​

    [1]  The author laid on a fake veneer so thick that, as intended, your average person would be manipulated to feel shame for questioning what is the equivalent of “Forrest Gump: WW2 Northern Italy edition” and as such reluctant to call it what it is – a literary fraud –  for fear of the angry mob who naturally don’t want to (but deserve to) know they’ve been hoodwinked.

    Liked by 1 person

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