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Living in Italy: the Real Deal - Hilarious Expat Adventures by [Stef Smulders, Emese Mayhew]

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Living in Italy: the Real Deal - Hilarious Expat Adventures Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 273 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Kirkus Reviews
  • "Smulders provides a running commentary on Italian culture that's both perspicacious and sharp-witted."
  • "... this is a charmingly lighthearted recollection, even when the author faces genuinely exasperating trials, and it's as good an introduction to the inimitable Italian ways of everyday life as one is likely to find."
Reader's Favorite Five Stars Review

  • Stef Smulders' Living in Italy: The Real Deal is a thoroughly entertaining read and a unique introduction to 'the Italian way'! 
  • The book is a comical, often downright hilarious account of the setbacks and unforeseen obstacles Stef and Nico encounter while they navigate through the endless red tape of the stressful Italian bureaucracy and become acquainted with the Italian lifestyle.

Blogcricics and ReaderViews Five Stars Review ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
  • Crisp, concise chapters take the form of short stories and weavetogether seamlessly to create a whimsical, light-hearted, and refreshing memoire of the author's complete Italian experience.
  • The characters are delightful and I laughed aloud throughout the reading at some of the obvious stereotypicalcharacteristics of Italians, like the obsession with their health, theirfashion sense, and the overall chaos that surrounds the average person.
Feathered Quill review:
  • For those who wish to laugh and see a more up-close-and-personal Italy, this is most definitely the book for you!
The US Review of Books:
  • Smulders' hilarious recollections bespeak a great humorist no matter what the language
  • a series of amusing cross-cultural vignettes that will be highly recognizable to world travelers and very useful to those embarking on a similar change of place
  • Recommended (outstanding book)

From the Author

Interview with Stef Smulders

Q: What's the story behind your latest book?
I moved from The Netherlands to Italy in 2008, originally for what was supposed to become a 6 month study period at the University of Pavia for me and a sabbatical for Nico, my husband. But we had another, more or less secret plan: to find a beautiful house and start a bed & breakfast! What happened was that within two months we came across a perfect house, meeting all, I mean ALL, our requirements, located in a beautiful region on a panoramic position. At that point we had to decide: do we take this chance or not? If not, we might just as well forget about the whole idea of emigrating as we certainly would not find a better house than this one. Better sorry than safe, we said and jumped blindfoldedly into the dark. From the start we kept a blog about all our adventures (finding the house, buying it, reconstructing it, dealing with the real estate man, the builder, the notary et cetera). After having settled for a few years I decided to convert these stories into a book. 

Q: What motivated you to become an indie author?
I am a perfectionist and usually I am not satisfied with what others produce. I looked at some other books in my genre (emigration stories) and found them unsatisfying in lay-out and content. I can do better, I thought, so I researched a bit and found that nowadays you can manage almost the entire publishing process yourself. And with the result I am very satisfied. It took some effort but at least the book is precisely what I wanted it to be and it sells even better than 'profesionally' edited and printed books. 

Q: What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The creative process. Starting out with a few elements that should make up the story and finding out what happens while you're on it. Finding the best way to convert an atmosphere, mood, situation. The satisfaction when you succeed and the result surprises even you. 

Q: What are you working on next?
I am working on a translation  of  second book with stories about our life in Italy and another, language oriented book about funny misunderstandings when speaking with Italians. 

Q: Who are your favorite authors? 
I like Coetzee, McEwan, Alice Munro to name a few famous English-language authors. There are some other lesser-known writers which I specifically admire like the South-African writer Damon Galgut and Keith Lee Morris. Then John Williams' Stoner blew me off my feet, as well as Cloud Atlas of David Mitchell.
I have a Goodreads-account where you may find what I read and you may read my reviews: goodreads.com/author/show/7538348.Stef_Smulders 

Q: When you're not writing, how do you spend your time? 
Hosting guests of our B&B, reading, gardening, swimming, whatching TV-series like Homeland, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Sopranos. Walking the dog, travelling. Marketing our B&B and my books! 

Q: How do you discover the ebooks you read? 
Goodreads for a large part and reading reviews and articles in papers, like the Guardian. 

Q: Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you? 
Not the first story I read but one that did have a major impact on me in that it showed me what a good story could do and what it should be like (and probably it stimulated me to start writing myself): a story by Nabokov (can't remember the title right now) about the visit of a boy to a family estate in Russia, where he hides in the house while his nieces and nephews are playing in the garden. A marvelous evocation of atmosphere and psychologgy. 

Q: Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing? 
I grew up in a few small towns in the eastern part of The Netherlands. My father used to change jobs every year which implied our having to move to another place, another school, other friends. Then when I was 12 my parents separated and we stayed with our mother, without the need for further moving. I was (very) lonely as a child, finding it difficult to comunicate with other children (or so I thought) and making friends. Finding out that I was was gay (about at the age of 13) made things only more difficult. When I came 'out' at 18 I had to find a way to meet other guys, which was not that easy in the late '70s in a relatively small town as where I lived. Then at 24 I moved to Amsterdam where things where much more open and I met my current husband. I have finished a manuscript of a novel that is based on my experiences as a child and young adult.

Product details

  • ASIN : B01N7OY6DM
  • Publisher : Babelcube Inc. (March 4, 2018)
  • Publication date : March 4, 2018
  • Language : English
  • File size : 627 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 282 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 273 ratings

Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5
273 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on October 27, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful read for anyone relocating to Italy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 6, 2017
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A Mother’s Musings 🌹
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 6, 2017
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Clare W.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 8, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 10, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Lost in translation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2018
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