From Elaine Pasquali
Author: Ignazio Silone
This novel speaks to the transformation of poverty-stricken southern Italy under Mussolini’s fascist regime. Amoral familism gives way to class consciousness and the patron- peasant relationship goes from mutually beneficial to exploitative without protection. Silone uses the theft of water, the peasants’ vital resource, to tell his story. A peasant, Bernardo, becomes their leader, and, in the end, their martyr. Silone recounts the peasants’ story in a compassionate, reality-based manner. A deeply moving and memorable novel that I appreciate more each time I read it.