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The Reprisal: A Novel Hardcover – March 29, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bonnani's tragic, brutal novella is exquisitely translated for the first time by poet Stewart and scholar Teardo. A group of fascist supporters and a young boy injured in a recent attack have holed up in a remote mountain monastery to escape the violence as partisans wage guerilla war against the occupying Germans. When the group captures a pregnant woman attempting to smuggle firearms to partisans in the Italian mountains, they hold an impromptu war tribunal and sentence her to death, but agree to let her live until she gives birth. From scribblings in his notebook, the narrator, a school teacher among the group, reconstructs the events that took place in the monastery from the initial capture of the woman. Madness and boredom descend on the men as the day of birth approaches while the young boy's terrifying obsession with violence questions whether mercy exists anywhere in the world, including among the innocent. Bonanni's surreal and grotesque scenes make the madness of the men, and their primordial misogyny, graphically palpable. It is a travesty that English language readers have been denied this profound, gritty novel for so long as it raises serious questions about humanity's ability to justify violence. (Apr.)
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