Mind Games: A Collection of Emotional Thrillers by Luigi Capuana

The Naked Reviewers
3 min readAug 31, 2019


In this collection of short stories, Luigi Capuana focuses on the psychology of his characters and their inner worlds. They are often comical or absurd, yet always act in accordance with the iron logic of their manias, flaws and quirks.

These emotional thrillers explore the always fascinating — and sometimes dangerous — territory of our inner realities. The line between sanity and insanity may be thinner than we would like to think.

Sometimes hilarious, sometimes unsettling, you’ll be thinking about Mind Games and its stories of ordinary people in incredible situations long after you have turned the final page.

Karen Meyer’s Review: 3.5-Stars

I love the way the cover lets the reader know the setting of the book. Then I open the book and try to get through the first chapter. The opening paragraph doesn’t really grab my attention the way an opening paragraph should.
“And what about justice?” Lastrucci exclaimed.
“Which one?” Which one what?
The reader should not have questions from the very first sentence. I go on and I see he’s trying to explain but it’s a case of too little, too late in my opinion.

I would say the title does fit what I read of the book. Mind Games is an off-the-wall fantasy that never seems to develop into an entertaining novel.

Since I read either to learn or for pleasure, this book did not meet that criteria. He dreams he murders someone and feels he should be punished for it.

Sorry, I read three chapters three times and couldn’t tell you what happened. But the punctuation, spelling and sentence construction was all good.

I know there are readers that will eat this up, but it just wasn’t for me personally.

Diane Andersen’s Review: 5-Stars

In the annals of English and American literature, there are short story greats like Edgar Allen Poe, O. Henry, Henry James and James Joyce. However, that same era that gave us those literary giants, who made us examine life and love during the repressive Victorian era, there was across the pond a Continental favorite spinning his own tales for an Italian audience. Luigi Capuano penned his collection under the original title Delitto Ideale. Here, for the first time, thanks to the translation efforts of Chiara Giacobbe.

This makes for a most interesting and unusual review to write. On the one hand, the stories are essentially classics in their own right, the author long gone and not here to defend his work or even make comment on Ms. Giacobbe’s translation. Are they indeed an effective interpretation of the original language? Do they convey the essence of the tone and flavor of the late Victorian Era in Italy?

Those were things I wrestled with as I read these, always keeping that as the barometer by which I read them. Assuming this is as direct of a translation while still keeping the “voice” and intent of the original, I found these quite delightful to read, though perhaps a bit daunting to get my head wrapped around.

Capuana has a bit of Hemingway’s economy of words and the insight of James Joyce’s psychological assessment of life and society. The tales at the very least offer a glimpse into the Italian landscape of the early 20th century, from the Tuscan countryside to the streets of Rome and all through the eyes of provocative characters that transcend culture and dig into the heart of our humanity from its darkest depths to its brightest hopes.

A must read for all short story fans and classic literary readers.

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