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Paperback After Hannibal Book

ISBN: 0393317706

ISBN13: 9780393317701

After Hannibal

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

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Book Overview

From the Booker Prize-winning author of Sacred Hunger, "a vivid, sinuous, profound, and entirely beguiling venture." --Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times. Set in the beautiful landscape and rich history of Umbria, Italy, Booker Prize-winning author Barry Unsworth has written a witty and illuminating work of contemporary manners and morals. The region where Hannibal defeated the Romans is now prey to a different type of invasion: outsiders buying villas...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Thoughtful look at the human condition

and 'Ugly Englishman' as opposed to Americans who are unusually kind and trusting in this book about several couples trying to work through the good offices of an Italian lawyer trying to help them with problems caused by greedy contractors, crazy neighbors etc.. I found all the little stories interesting except for the one about the professor Monti where Unsworth included maybe a little too much about local history for my patience. All in all an interesting book that also provides a cautionary tale for rich foreigners who are keen on Italian real estate.

A modest book with a lot going on.

For a modest book, "After Hannibal" has a surprising number of themes: human greed and ruthlessness; the beauty of Umbria and its art and hill towns; the deficiencies of the Italian legal system; marriage. Unsworth made his home in Umbria at the time this book was written, and it shows. It takes a writer of considerable talent to make the reader so deeply experience the beauty of a region. The book is nicely plotted, and its historical material is interesting in itself as well as contributing to the themes and plot There is an ensemble cast of characters. They interact convincingly, but clearly Unsworth takes more interest in some than others. The most memorable characters are the project manager and the lawyer. A few minor points bothered me. Cecelia intends to stop at a bar as part of her flight, which would mean, as it happens, that she would stumble on her husband, yet it seems unlikely to me that Unsworth would want to suggest this, it just does not fit. Fabio notices that the lawyer had not "included himself in the ranks of mortality". There is something larger than life about the lawyer, but what purpose does his utterance about "you mortals" serve? Finally, Cecillia is disheartened at how quickly the peasants cave in when it is clear the legal system will work against them: to me this does not reflect any lack of dignity, but the shrewdness of the poker player who knows when to fold. In this case, perhaps we just need to differentiate between Cecilia's views and the author's.

Wise and Witty

Can the history of a region shape the lives of those who settle there? Barry Unsworth, winner of the Booker Prize for his novel SACRED HUNGER, suggests that may be so in his hypnotic and gorgeously written new novel about fantasy, deceit and betrayal.Set in "Golden" Umbria, a region made famous by painters like Raphael and Peruggino, AFTER HANNIBAL explores a brief spell of time for English, Italian, German, and American neighbors living along a dusty rural road. They all have their dreams, some elevated, some vicious, and reality crushes each of them in one way or another--or sets them free in unexpected ways.But that's not surprising, because they live in a dramatic, blood-soaked landscape, however dreamy and idyllic it may appear, and however filled it may be with cities that are "treasure-houses of art and history." Hannibal destroyed a Roman army there, and in the Renaissance, noble families jockeyed for power, defying each other and the Papacy in blood. The region's history is "a record of crime."All this background is ironically supplied by an Italian history professor who himself longs "to be detached from history, rescued"--but of course, that's not possible for him or his neighbors who are bound together in surprising ways.Though the author's couple from Michigan sounds more British than American, it's an easily forgiven lapse. AFTER HANNIBAL is wise and witty, infused with the warmth of a dazzling landscape, and tempered by a sad, deep knowledge of the human penchant for self-deception and self- destruction. It's a deeply moving book much like one of the tiny, ancient Umbrian towns the author describes: "undemonstrative, unclamorous--it makes no very loud or evident claim on your attention. It exists in its own right, in its venerable and richly layered past and harmonious present."

An Umbrian pastoral with contemporary invaders

After Hannibal is another fine example of Unsworth's ability to brilliantly incorporate historic narrative into contemporary fiction. His droll storytelling is made sharper by the fine portrayal and exploration of characters -- and his lyrical descriptiveness.

So you want to buy property abroad?

The first Barry Unsworth book I have read, and very enjoyable. If you are thinking of relocating, or buying property in a region with unknown cultures this book is a must. It relates the struggles and pressures of dealing with alien protocols and the general mis-haps that can ensue. It also shows Barry's love and his enrapture for this beautiful region of Italy. Try it, you'll enjoy it
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