The Jukebox Queen Of Malta
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The Jukebox Queen Of Malta

3.48 (184 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

It is 1942 and the island of Malta is under siege by the dominant German air force. Out of the smoke and magnesium glare of bomb blast steps Rocco Raven, native of Brooklyn, New York, apprentice radioman and expert secondhand car dealer. His only contact is an American secret serviceman, Fingerley, whose rank upgrades with their every meeting and whose purpose is known to no-one but himself. Far from finding a role for Rocco, Fingerley leaves him to face the chaos alone. On only his second day there, his billet, on the top floor of a brothel, is blown to pieces. Without contacts or belongings, Rocco is left to wander the devastated streets of Valetta in a bewildered daze until he sees an apparition, a beautiful, ethereal woman. She is Melita, the Jukebox Queen of Malta, who spends her time delivering the jukeboxes wrought by her cousin from old automobile and gramophone parts to the bars and restaurants which must accommodate the beleagured civilian and military populations. It is the beginning of an extraordinary relationship that is at once passionate and guarded, which flourishes as the island's fortunes decline. Under the threat of starvation and in a world populated by the eccentrics of war, Rocco's seems to be the lone voice of sanity, until he too is affected by the madness around him and succumbs to the voluntary thrill of danger... The Jukebox Queen of Malta is an extraordinary novel of passion and intrigue set in a world which seems perilously balanced between what is real and what is not. It is a magnificently evocative piece of storytelling, where the bizarre and heady atmosphere of a society under siege masks the uneasy truce between the Allied occupiers and the Maltese natives, and where the physical beauty is only tainted by the sense of mystery desecrated.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 124 x 192 x 30mm | 222.26g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552998109
  • 9780552998109
  • 31,482

Review quote

"'Under the heat and the hammering of bombs, Rinaldi paints the essence of the Second World War in exciting miniature'" -- David Hughes * Mail on Sunday * "'Much to enjoy...Rinaldi has tremendous fun evoking the rich cultural pudding that was Malta in 1942, its weird combination of superstition, fatalism and grafted-on anglophilia, of ricotta and stiff upper lip'" -- Patrick Gale * Daily Telegraph * "'Funny, romantic, disturbing...A marvellous tapestry of war...Moving and satisfying'" * The New York Times * "'A beguiling, romantic story in an illuminating and surprising setting'" -- Joseph Hellershow more

About Nicholas Rinaldi

Nicholas Rinaldi teaches at Fairfield University, in Connecticut, where he lives with his wife, Jackie. His work includes two novels, Bridge Fall Down and The Jukebox Queen of Malta, and three collections of poetry: The Resurrection of the Snails, The Luftwaffe in Chaos and We Have Lost Our Fathers.show more

Back cover copy

It is 1942 and the island of Malta is under siege by a triumphant German air force. From the smoke and magnesium glare of bomb blast steps Rocco Raven, native of Brooklyn, New York, apprentice radioman and expert car mechanic. His only contact is an American intelligence officer, Jack Fingerly, whose purpose is known to no-one but himself. Far from finding a role for Rocco, Fingerly leaves him to face the chaos alone. On only his third day there his billet, on the top floor of a brothel, is blown to pieces. Without contacts or belongings, Rocco is left to wander the devastated streets of Valetta in a bewildered daze until he sees an apparition, Melita, a beautiful, ethereal woman. It is the beginning of an extraordinary relationship, at once passionate and guarded, which flourishes as the island's fortunes decline. Under the threat of starvation and in a world infused with the eccentricities of war, Rocco's seems to be the lone voice of sanity, until he too is infected by the madness around him and succumbs to the voluntary thrill of danger...show more

Review Text

"'Funny, romantic, disturbing...A marvellous tapestry of war...Moving and satisfying'"show more

Rating details

184 ratings
3.48 out of 5 stars
5 16% (30)
4 33% (60)
3 39% (71)
2 9% (16)
1 4% (7)
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