A must read: Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi

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May 18, 2012

If you have any southern Italian roots this book is a “must read”.

“Cristo si è fermato ad Eboli”: CHRIST STOPPED AT EBOLI – THE STORY OF A YEAR by CARLO LEVI .
The title won’t reel you in. It’s not about Christ, neither about religion. It’s not even about Eboli. It’s about peasants life in a small village of South Italy.

If you are interested in how life was in Italian villages during the second half of the 1800’s and early 1900’s this is the right book where to start.

“The seasons pass today over the toil of the peasants, just as they did three thousand years before Christ; no message, human or divine, has reached this stubborn poverty. “

Because of his uncompromising opposition to Fascism, Carlo Levi a painter and doctor was banished at the start of the Abyssinian War (1935) to a small remote village in Lucania (which is known today as Basilicata).
This book was published in 1945 at the end of World War II, when the author came back to his normal life.
In this book you can feel the sense of place and the peasants life in beginning of XX century in the Southern Italy.
Carlo Levi Painting

Many years have gone by, years of war and of what men call History.
Buffeted here and there at random I have not been able to return to my peasants as I promised when I left them, and I do not know when, if ever, I can keep my promise.
But closed in one room, in a world apart, I am glad to travel in my memory to that other world, hedged in by custom and sorrow, cut off from History and the State, eternally patient, to that land without comfort or solace, where the peasant lives out his motionless civilization on barren ground in remote poverty, and in the presence of death

In 1979, Francesco Rosi made a film from the book.
The film was shot in Basilicata: you will love the landscapes and the locations!
(but we prefer the book!)

You can buy the book or the movie here

Did you already read this book, or did you see the movie ?
Did you like it ? Tell us what you think about it!

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