Ten years ago, I fell in love with an Italian guy named Alessandro Baricco. Not just any guy, no he's a fantastic author! I was introduced to his book Castelli di Rabbia (Lands of Glass in English - which is a weird translation if you ask me, because the Italian title actually means 'castles madness'a wordplay on 'castelli di sabbia' corresponding to the English phrase 'castles in the air'. But I digress...) by another Italian guy, but I don't remember his name. Only that he came from Sardinia.
Anyway. The books, the books! I have read several of them and absolutely recommend them! Most of them have been translated into English (and other languages).
My favourite is Castelli di Rabbia, but I also really like Oceano Mare, Seta and the monologue called Novecento. It is kind of difficult to describe the books. They are strange and beautiful, full of odd characters who do mad things. But wonderful things.
Novecento has been made into a fantastic(!) film called La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano (The Legend of 1900) by Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) with music by Ennio Morricone. Oh you must watch this film! Even you can't be bothered with the books, watch the film. It is so beautiful!
Baricco's books on amazon.co.uk if you're interested.