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1001 Book Review: Christ Stopped at Eboli Carlo Levi


It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed a 1001 book so while we wait for our next 2016 Man Booker longlist book, we decided to sneak in a 1001 review that Book Worm read a few months ago: Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi. Check out Book Worm’s review and if you’ve read it, let us know what you thought of it.

Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi
Published in: 1945
Reviewed by: Book Worm  and/or Jen
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: Christ Stopped at Eboli

Synopsis from Goodreads: It was to Lucania, a desolate land in southern Italy, that Carlo Levi—a doctor, painter, philosopher, and man of letters—was confined as a political prisoner because of his opposition to Italy’s Fascist government at the start of the Ethiopian war in 1935. While there, Levi reflected on the harsh landscape and its inhabitants, peasants who lived the same lives their ancestors had, constantly fearing black magic and the near presence of death. In so doing, Levi offered a starkly beautiful and moving account of a place and a people living outside the boundaries of progress and time.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: This book tells the story of a year in the life Carlo Levi as a political prisoner. Levi is banished to Lucania, a poor, malaria infested region of Italy. While there, he connects with the local peasants becoming their doctor and providing them with rudimentary health care. When he tries to improve their lives with Malaria management ideas however, he is banned from practicing medicine, almost causing a revolt.

During his time in Luciana, Levi learns from the peasants. He learns about their superstitions, their natural cures, and of course their wide stock of love spells.

What really comes across in the book is how much Levi cares for the people who live in the land of his imprisonment. If he were allowed, he would have made a bigger difference to their lives. It also shows how silly politics are in a region where every person is fighting just to survive.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Christ Stopped at Eboli

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Your post was a such a surprise in that it brought back many memories. I read this book years ago. My father had recommended it to me because my grandparents came from that region of Italy. Although he is gone now, I still have his paperback copy with notes scribbled in the margins. You have encapsulated so well what it was like to be dirt poor in Italy under fascist rule and the kind of magical thinking necessary to get through each day intact. The writer’s message continues, I think, to be relevant in today’s troubled world. This book was made into a movie (Italian) a long time ago, which was also very good.


    August 13, 2016
  2. Book Worm #

    I am glad you enjoyed your trip down memory lane, that is what a good book should do 🙂


    August 13, 2016

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