Christ Stopped at Eboli, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


'We're not Christians, Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli.' Exiled to a remote and barren corner of Italy for his opposition to Mussolini, Carlo Levi entered a world cut off from history and the state, hedged in by custom and sorrow, without comfort or solace, where, eternally patient, the peasants lived in an age-old stillness and in the presence of death - for Christ did stop at Eboli.




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This is a famous piece of reportage, about poverty in the village in the instep of Southern Italy to which Carlo Levi was exiled as a political prisoner. It's much less angry than I was expecting (at least the first half) - indeed, some of it is almost comic, although the comedy evaporates when you think that it's real lives that are marred by the incompetent doctor, the venal policeman or the alcoholic schoolmaster. Levi portrays the villagers as disconnected from both history and politics, both of which appear to the villagers as the workings of uncaring fate (being sent to war; having to slaughter your goats to pay your taxes).If the book had a flaw, it was that the language was almost too poetic - even when Levi is trying to convey the bleak, barren landscape.(I only managed to read half this book, while I was staying in the house of its owner).

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