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Without Blood Hardcover – June 1, 2004


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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: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.6 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: #2,112,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on May 22, 2005
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aleksandra Nita-Lazar on December 28, 2006
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By KH1 VINE VOICE on July 17, 2004
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 6, 2004
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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By John Van Wagner on February 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
There are two books in Alessandro Baricco's lyrical novel "Without Blood", one to deal with actions and the other with consequences. These are separate stories, delineated both by disparate styles and by the actual print on the page, the first unravelling in italics, and the second in block. Yet for all their apartness, in time and circumstance, they move together in a lover's bond, toward a climax of heightened realization, and, perhaps, resolution.

How exactly would a young girl of eleven react to the onslaught of a group of vengeful thugs invading her home intent on some vague form of revoluationary revenge against her family for acts which may have been misconstrued, or not have happened at all? For Baricco the literary solution is natural. His heroine, Nina, hiding beneath the floorboards of her home while her father, Manuel Roca, endures torture and worse at the hands of avenging tormentors, becomes a shell. After hearing the "windows pulverize under machine-gun shots", she "checked the symmetry of her shoes, paired as if in a shop window, but on their sides, you might have said lying down, out of exhaustion. She liked that orderliness. If you're a shell, order is important...Precision will save you."

The gentle, poetic prose that Baricco deploys with such naive forthrightness stands in horrific, and effective, counterpoint to the violence playing out over Nina's head. Part of what makes the narrative so unnerving is that fact that we, as readers, don't know where or how or why circumstances have conspired to create this situation. It's a device Cormac McCarthy, among others, has used to keep the menace of the unfolding tale more incomprehensible, and therefore more frightening.
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