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Without Blood Hardcover – June 1, 2004

4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Completely satisfying . . . Much longer volumes manage to say a lot less than Without Blood . . . Every page is powerful, every character . . . is memorable . . . Baricco and his tiny novel will be around for a long time to come.”
–Ian Bell, Sunday Herald (Glasgow)
“A haunting and powerful read.”
–Jane Alexander, Ink (London)
“A fable for adults . . . Baricco is the new Hans Christian Andersen.”
–Carla McKay, Daily Mail (London)
“Without doubt, this little book will move whoever picks it up.”
–Mark Barber, Morning Star (London)

From the Inside Flap

From the author of the acclaimed international best-seller Silk, here is an unforgettable tale of the cruelty of war, a little girl?s shattered world, and her lifelong quest for revenge and healing.

When?in an unnamed place and time?Manuel Roca?s enemies hunt him down, they fail to discover Nina, his youngest child, hidden in a hole beneath his farmhouse floor. And so, doing just as her father instructed, she neither speaks nor stirs as he is viciously slain above her hiding place. Only after this carnage will one of the murderers discover Nina?s trapdoor. But Tito, a mere boy himself, is so enthralled by the sight of Nina?s perfect innocence that he says nothing to his accomplices.

By the time she has grown up, Nina?s innocence will have bloomed into something else altogether, and one by one the wartime hunters will become the peacetime hunted. But not until a striking old woman calls upon an old man selling newspapers in town?the old man Tito has become?can we know what Nina will ultimately make of her brutal legacy. With the indelible truth of a fable, Without Blood reminds us that all wars are the same?the same mistake infinitely repeated in the hearts and deeds of wronged men and women?and that no life can remain untouched by loss or by hope.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First American Edition edition (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400041457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400041459
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel is disappointing beside Baricco's Silk and Ocean Sea but is still well worth a read. The clarity and "rightness" of his prose continues to create very enjoyable reading.

The first half of the book sets the stage - a political murder of father and brother experienced by a young girl hiding under the floor. The second half is the meeting of the now grown woman with the one surviving murderer. What sets Baricco's handling of the plot apart from many authors is the surprising depth in his understanding of the psychological effect on his particular character. Her behavior is unexpected yet perfectly congruent with her personality. This raises the book from polemic into a fascinating study of human nature. It is well worth the short time it takes to read.
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Format: Hardcover
This time Alessandro Baricco decided to tackle a situation of real trauma, getting for a while out of his world of towns full of extraordinary characters and strange events.

"Without Blood" is another compact work, consisting of two parts, separated by time.

In the first part, a group of men tracks down and kills someone, who during the recent war was on the other side of the barricade. Unfortunately, he has two small children and they get involved - a boy gets killed, but a girl is spared and survives.

In the second part, the girl, now an old woman, has her turn to track down all the murderers of her father and brother and kill them. After years of hiding, careful planning and concealing her emotions, she does what she feels must be done. On the beautiful summer day she arrives at the lottery kiosk and meets the last of the group - the man, who secretly spared her life...

Although both parts of the book are in sharp contrast (bloody events at the remote farm versus a sunny day in the town full of people), they are both about revenge, about justice and about personal pain. Written in the characteristic Baricco style, clear and poetic, this is another of his brilliant mini-novels. It might not be equal to "Silk", but it is still a masterpiece.
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Format: Hardcover
Although I did not enjoy Baricco's lastest work as much as his best-seller "Silk", I found that the three qualities that impressed me the most with "Silk" - form, purity of style and language, and imagery - were employed with equal skill in "Without Blood."
Told in two chapters, each approximately 45 pages in length, "Without Blood" begins as the story of a young girl who witnesses the assassination of her father and young brother. The assassins, a man named Salinas, his henchman, known only as "El Gurre", and a young man of twenty named Tito, kill her father and brother, and then realizing that she mus tbe hidden somewhere in the house, burn it to the ground.
In the second half of the novel, an old woman seeks out a final revenge.
Like his work "Silk", "Without Blood" has a simple story. It is not the plot, but the immensely deep and tragic characters that make the novella great. The only problem that I had with the novella is during hte dialogue, Baricco inserts pauses that made it very hard to determine who was speaking, and it is only for this reason that I did not give it five stars.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a powerful fable of the personal toll war takes on individual lives. Baricco deftly explores how both sides of a conflict feel that what they are doing is right and for an ultimate higher good. The slight volume also examines how the personal aspect of war does not disappear once the war ends. In this tale, it lingers on in dangerous rage and ultimately futile schemes of revenge that beget more violence.
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Format: Hardcover
Baricco has a unique gift with words and an ability to enchant the readers with his stories. Every time I read one of his books I'm met with a new surprise, and it's always a pleasant one.
The main protagonist in this novella is Nina. At the beginning of the story we meet her while hiding with her family in an old house in the countryside, in an anonymous country, during an unnamed civil war, which however reminds us of the Spanish.
Nina's father, Manuel Roca, is not on the winning side, and he seems to have a lot of enemies, so they have to live in hiding to stay alive. But no matter how much they want to escape the past, one day it will catch up with them and the results will be devastating. Their enemies, headed by a man called Salinas, will track them down and a battle will ensue during which Manuel and his son will be killed. Little Nina however who during all this hustle was hidden in the basement will survive. And then...
And then the years swiftly go by, and there comes a time that Nina sets out to take her revenge. She's afraid of nothing and of no one and she's determined to spare no effort to reach her goal. And thus yesterday's hunters become today's prey.
Of course, as one would expect, in a Baricco story nothing is exactly the way it looks; the author seems to suggest that every coin has two different sides; but of course that doesn't mean that the one voids the other. At the end of the day what counts the most are the facts; it is them that write the history, it is them that engrave the souls.
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