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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
101
Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year (FSG Classics)
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on May 7, 2016
Haunting and beautifully written Carlo Levi gives us a glimpse of a part of Italy that was forgotten and neglected and tells of the daily life of an impoverished, superstitious people who had resigned to their lot. Banished to a small town in Lucania (now the region known as Basilicata) because of his anti-fascist activity, Levi, a doctor, writer and artist, spent one year in captivity internalizing his experiences. A few years later during WWII, while hiding out in a room in Florence because he was a Jew, he wrote the book, Christ Stopped at Eboli. The book is poetry, prose, and a scathing condemnation of the Italian government who shamefully neglected southern Italy after the Risorgimento and subsequent unification of Italy. Christ did not literally stop at Eboli. The title infers that the peasants of Lucania felt they were less than human...that the term "Christian" was synonymous with the word human and humanity stopped north of them. Centuries of oppression led them to consider themselves not much more than mules. Levi's lucid description helped begin the conversation of the "Problem of the South" after the war ended. As a descendant of grandparents who emigrated from this Italian region, the book touched me on a personal level.
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on December 13, 2017
If you want to understand the divide between the North and South of Italy prior to WW2, this is the book. The insights into the customs and mindset will make this book a historical reference in hundreds of years to come.
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on August 9, 2015
This book was a major surprise. I was looking for something to read about Basilicata, the region in southern Italy between Puglia and Compania. I had heard of the title but no idea what it was about. The author, Carlo Levi, was a northern Italian anti-fascist, when in 1935 he was exiled by Mussolini to a small village in the south. He writes feelingly and poetically about the people and place, the daily struggle of the peasants, and what life was like in a region so remote and out of the way, it was considered a good alternative to prison for Mussolini's political enemies. When the book was published in the late 1940's, many Italians felt shamed by the description of inhuman conditions, eventually leading to a nation-wide movement to improve the lives of people who had been disregarded for so long. It may not sound that compelling, but the book's great surprise is that you are totally drawn into Levi's growing empathy and solidarity with his downtrodden neighbors.
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VINE VOICEon January 16, 2015
I have this in both English and Italian and it is one of my favorites. During Mussolini's rule political dissenters were exiled to small hilltop towns where they could not communicate with the outside world except through censored mail and Levi ended up in Lucania, so far south that Jess Christ was said to have stopped north of there in Eboli. Levi had a good eye for character and details that make his portrayal come alive. I stayed in the area in the late '60s and it still resembled the way Levi described, especially in the hamlets. IF you liked Cornelison's Torregreca you will love this.
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on October 3, 2017
I did not finish this book in time for my book group as it wasn't a page turner(I did later.) However, I really enjoyed the writing (or the translation?) which was excellent. Really interesting character studies and instant transportation to a specific time and place. The book did generate a good discussion about the people and the state of poverty. I'm not sure I liked the book as much as really appreciated it. An escapist novel it is not.
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on January 31, 2017
Interesting historical look at how Carlo Levi, a political prisoner in Fascist Italy, spent a year in a small, malarial-infested Calabrian village as punishment for his dissent against Mussolini.
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on April 16, 2018
What a marvelous book about people. It is not about religion, despite its title. A cultured Northern Italian is exiled by Mussolini to a primitive village in southern Italy, and learns humility, love and beauty.
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on November 30, 2015
Reading Carlo Levi is like living in his shoes. His poetic style takes you through his exile in such lucid detail you smell the unfamiliar smells, hear the unfamiliar dialect of a forgotten people, and live vicariously through his well chosen words. He brings enlightenment to a particular time and place in history of which few who love Italy like I do are aware.
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on April 26, 2016
Very absorbing book. I started it while traveling in this area of Italy. A very different Italy than most experience in the northern cities. Well written, and a genuine insight to the background of the area. Somehow, a family member walked off with it. I anxiously await completing the book!
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on August 10, 2016
My grandparents emigrated to the USA from southern Italy in the early part of the 20th century and had thereafter always said they never wanted to return. Reading this book gave me an understanding as to why they felt that way. This is a compelling first-hand account of the hardships endured by people who lived south of Rome up until the end of WWII.
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