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Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year
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Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,092 ratings  ·  172 reviews
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 ancest ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published January 10th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1945)
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You know how once in a while you run into a book that's so good you don't want it to end, so you draw read it very slowly, drawing it out? For me, this was one of those books.

Christ Stopped at Eboli is the story of Levi's year living in Basilicata, in the south of Italy, where Mussolini exiled him for anti-Fascist activities. Levi, who was a doctor by training but a painter by trade, lived among a population mostly composed of peasants, along with a few run-of-the-mill bureaucrats. The book is a
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 25, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
A wonderfully written book about the sorry condition in Southern Italy before the onset of WWII by an anti-fascist Italian writer, journalist, artist and doctor, Carlo Levi (1902-1975). This is the type of book that you tend to hold on to each word because the writing is so beautiful that you would not want the story to end. Adding to this is the fact that this novel or memoir was actually written as a protest to Benito "Il Duce" Mussolini's (1883-1945) government.

The title refers to the what th
I think this might be the perfect memoir. Soulful, poetic, and in the end so rarely about the author himself. With an anthropological eye he examines the many facets of the "exotic" land to which he has been exiled--southern Italy in 1935: preChristian, he calls it, feudal. Caveat: There is much to discuss and argue about in this book, not the least of which is his pronouncement of his Gramscian political solutions to the endemic poverty he discovers in Lucania, in the second to last chapter of ...more
"Nothing had ever come [from Rome] but the tax collector and speeches over the radio."

In Christ Stopped at Eboli, Carlo Levi describes a place that time forgot as beautifully as one could possibly describe such a place; a place so misbegotten and forlorn and godless that Christ himself, so the legend went, stopped at another town and came no further. Levi is the nominal protagonist of the book, since this is his memoir of one-year in 1935-1936 in Aliano, Italy, (renamed Gagliano in the book) as
I “know” Italian in the same way I “know” how to cook, throw a punch or pleasure a woman orally. Meaning, I get by, but the results are not always flattering to my self-esteem. Which is why it’s taken me three months to read the first half of Levi’s charming little memoir. And now the library wants it back. Christ stopped at Eboli; Buck stopped on page 150. We’re both slackers.

I think I might love this book, though. We’ve agreed to meet at the train station in Vienna in six months.
Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year is book that is difficult to classify. It is the story, novelized but real, of author Carlo Levi, a non-practicing doctor and full-time painter who was an Italian political prisoner, sent by the fascist government in power at that time to Gagliano, a village in the poverty-stricken area of southern Italy where the peasants are starving (although taxed non-the-less) and the countryside is bleak beyond belief. Levi, a painter, renders the stark landscap ...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
Let me state the verdict first: A fantastic read.

This book is supposed to be a memoir. But each chapter can be read as a short story. Carlo Levi was sent to a village in the southern most tip of Italy as a political prisoner in the years 1935 - 1936. His crime was being against the Fascist regime. Being a man from North Italy (Turin) the life in the south Italy was a different experience. And later he narrated his life in south Italy in writing and that has become a masterpiece. And I too agree
Carlo Levi was sent in exile to a Southern Italian village (current name Aliano) in the mid 1930's as a political prisoner because of his anti-fascism. This book is his recollection of one of the three years he spent there.

The village is very small, isolated, and ridden with misery and illness. What could have been a dreadfully boring memoir becomes a beautiful, poetic work of art under the artistic sensitivity of Mr Levi's pen.

What gives the book a true soul, and really elevates it, is the deep
John David
This book was recommended to me probably eight years ago by a delightful old woman who worked with me by the name of Eleanor Jordan. I’d never heard of the book before, and didn’t think much of it for several years. One day, I saw it while browsing, picked it up, and just recently decided to read it, intermittently thinking of Eleanor. The title combined with the brief content summary she provided me prompted me to ask, “What is it? Fiction? A travel guide?” She just answered with her usual cand ...more
Christ stopped at Eboli, down on the coast, up the in the hills the world remains pre-Christian. This is the author's account of life in one of those hill villages while in intertal exile under the fascists.

Levi presents most of the villagers as being so isolated from the mainstream of Italian culture that they have a pre-christian or pagan mentality or weltanschauung. For example at Christmas the poor people give presents to the rich - unlike in the Bible story were the Kings give presents to t
Candace Dempsey
A classic book about a part of Italy that few foreigners ever visit. I had put off reading it for years, thinking it would be depressing. But I loved every word. Carlo Levi was a doctor, a painter, a political activist and a smart, witty man. His portrait of peasants "so far from god" is as heartbreaking as it is fascinating. One of the best books I've read in years.
Lucania, anni trenta.
Una panoramica lucida ed inesorabile su uno scenario color polvere.
L'ho divorato nella calura di agosto, e non me lo sarei mai aspettato.
Molto interessante -- ho riconosciuto tante volte il sud dove ho vissuto pochi anni fa....
Ferda Nihat Koksoy
Hekim-Yazar-Ressam-Senatör, ITA-1945, TR-1961 (2009-Baskısı), Helikopter Yayın, Çeviren: Sabahattin Eyüboğlu (I. Calvino ve J.P. Sartre'ın Önsözleri ile), 224 sf.

**...büyülü hava, ulvi bir dille yazılması, ...anımsatıcı işlevi ve yalnızlığı, kitabın en belirgin özellikleridir. ...Onun yazısı, temsil ettiklerine, sunduklarına duyduğu sadakatin ve dünyayla arasındaki aşk dolu bu bağın saf bir aracıdır (I.Calvino).
This is one of those rare books that fits awkwardly into any clearly defined category. I think it's possible for different people to take something different from reading it. I read it whilst living in Italy and eventually spent a few days around Matera in Basilicata. So for me it was almost like a guide book.

Levi manages to convey the people and landscape in a creative and artistic way, but he never gets lost in lyrical descriptive prose. After all, this was no literary retreat; it was an exile
Kristyn Conner
This book has sat on my bookshelf for a total of two years, and its purchase was, for the most part, an initial disappointment. It was supposed to be one of the required readings for a European Trans-nationalism class that I was destined to take, but with only two days until the commencement of classes, the professor packed his things and jetted off to Sweden for an entire year. I never really got around to returning any of the novels, and thus they've been sitting there despairingly, collecting ...more
This book is well-written (or at least well-translated), and describes a year (1935-36) that Levi spent in forced residence in the southern Italian countryside. (He had been an ardent anti-fascist, and forced residency in the country was a common punishment for political dissenters.) He describes his time among the peasants with a curious heavy, mythological sort of air, and there are many very poetic sentences. However - and perhaps this is unfair of me - I cannot say that I loved, or even espe ...more
Christ Stopped at Eboli is the memoir of one remarkable man's experience in fascist Italy. Carlo Levi: painter, writer, activist,philosopher, and writer. He is all and more in this facinating volume.
Though I began this book with the languor of any student facing a particularly tiresome school project, I found it to be really good. Carlo Levi talks about life in forgotten villages of Italy, with their pseudo-gentry and peasants. It is about as far away from 21st century America as you can get,
Peasant women dressed in black, the gentry's ceaseless hatred of one another, an imbalance of the sexes due to emigration and war, magic in the form of sprites and gnomes, our unconscious worship of the state and the peasants' complete dissociation from it, from 'those fellows in Rome'... Carlo Levi's book on an isolated corner of southern Italy to which he was exiled (!) as an anti-Fascist in 1935-36 is a strangely seductive piece of writing on a seemingly dreary subject. His patient reflection ...more
La storia dei contadini del Meridione, di Aliano, Grassano, storia di questi "non uomini", perchè Cristo si è fermato a Eboli.

La storia dei cafoni, che non sono cristiani, perchè non hanno stato e non hanno religione. La storia di una sconfitta che si è ripetuta infinite volte...

"I signori erano tutti iscritti al Partito, anche quei pochi, come il dottor Milillo, che la pensavano diversamente, soltanto perchè il Partito era il Governo, era lo Stato, era il Potere, ed essi si sentiv
Susan Tekulve
This book is mesmerizing and beautifully written. This is a memoir that recounts Levi's time as a political prisoner of the Fascist regime in Italy, in 1935. Instead of sending him to prison, the Fascist government sent him to a remote village in Apulia, Italy. (If you think of Italy as a boot, then Apulia is at the heel of the boot) Levi's account is nonfiction, but this region of Italy was so remote, so starkly beautiful at this time, that it's hard for a modern traveler of Italy to imagine th ...more
David Lott
I had to read this book for a college class so therefore it was not a book I chose to read on my own time.

As I was reading this book I kept waiting for Jesus Christ to enter the story so the title of the book would make sense. Instead the book is all about how the author, Carlo Levi, was exiled to Southern Italy during the Mussolini era. The title stems from the fact that Levi sees that the locals have not yet evolved into the Christian morality that existed in Northern Italy. The book esentiall
memoir fulgido e pieno di umanità sul confino dell'autore in uno sperduto paesino lucano. man mano che la narrazione procede, gli abitanti di gagliano (aliano, nella realtà) diventano figure vive e descritte con dovizia di particolari: il podestà vacuo e stupido, le streghe, i contadini condannati a una vita misera di fatica e malaria, i medici incompetenti, le streghe del paese, i notabili dalla mentalità piccola e arretrata. la natura imponente e arida- portatrice di malattia ma anche di stupo ...more
I decided to read this book after reading David Yeadon's A Year in Baslicata, which refers to it continuously. Carlo Levi, in exile in a remote Gagliano in Basilicata, writes of the peasants and middle class bureaucrats that prey on them, the village life, fascinating in its remoteness but shocking in its poverty. For instance, malaria is common, and the poverty and ignorance of the peasants is extreme. As a privileged, educated man from Turin, forced into exile as a political prisoner, Levi des ...more
Da dove veniamo

"Noi non possiamo oggi prevedere quali forme politiche si preparino per il futuro: ma in un paese di piccola borghesia come l'Italia, e nel quale le ideologie piccolo borghesi sono andate contagiando anche le classi popolari cittadine, purtroppo è probabile che le nuove istituzioni che seguiranno al fascismo, per evoluzione lenta o per opera di violenza, e anche le più estreme e apparentemente rivoluzionarie fra esse, saranno riportate a riaffermare, in modi diversi, quelle ideolo
I read this long ago but it remains dear in my heart, and I might be ready to re-read it soon. Many reviewers have written comments that I strongly agree with. It is a beautiful melancholy book that is hard to classify. If anybody wants to understand some of the basics of regional differences in 20th century Italy and the complications of its politics this is an excellent place to start.

For me though it is most importantly about the realities of daily existence for most of human history, and for
Ahmad Sharabiani
آنها می‌گویند: «ما مسیحی نیستم. مسیح در ابولی متوقف ماند.» مسیحی در زبان آنها یعنی آدم. و جمله ضرب‌المثل‌گونه‌ای را که بارها شنیده‌ام تکرار می‌کنند که شاید چیزی بیش از بیان یک احساس ناامیدانه ناشی از حقارت نیست. «ما مسیحی نیستم، آدم نیستم، آدم به حساب نیامدیم، بلکه حیوان، حیوان بارکش و حتی بدتر از حیواناتیم.» لوی در این کتاب با زبانی روان و گاه طنزآمیز به شیوه خاطره‌نگاری و با جهش‌های زمانی بدون تقدم و تاخر وقایع، داستان خود را به پیش می‌برد و فضای نه چندان بانشاط روستای عقب مانده را به شیوایی و ...more
I actually really liked this. I'm surprised it doesn't have more reviews and stuff. I suppose it's a subtle lesson that it provides, but still--Levi wrote a fantastic book, with great descriptions and a decent narrative. The characters he described in Grassano were vivid. I felt like I knew them by the end when, spoiler alert, he is freed from his prisoner of war status. The book, in addition to providing a unique view of Fascist Italy, provided an excellent angle on human nature.
Jim Leckband
Christ may have stopped at Eboli before making it down from Rome (presumably) to the south Italy mountain villages, but Carlo Levi did not and he wrote a magnificent book about his year among the peasants and middle class gentry in the 1930's. Levi describes a society that time and Rome has forgotten. Animism survives in witches, superstition and shape-shifters. Marriages are still arranged without the bride and groom even knowing each other. And most importantly, the villages give and give to t ...more
Paolo Manieri
“Il problema meridionale non si risolve dentro lo Stato attuale, né dentro quelli che, senza contraddirlo radicalmente, lo seguiranno. Si risolverà soltanto fuori di essi, se sapremo creare una nuova idea politica e una nuova forma di Stato, che sia anche lo Stato dei contadini; che li liberi dalla loro forzata anarchia e dalla loro necessaria indifferenza.”
Levi racconta con molta lucidità la netta contrapposizione tra lo stato e comunità locale, tra la piccola borghesia e i contadini nell'Itali
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Carlo Levi was an Italian-Jewish painter, writer, activist, anti-fascist, and doctor.
He is best known for his book, Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (Christ Stopped at Eboli), published in 1945; a memoir of his time spent in exile in Lucania, Italy, after being arrested in connection with his political activism. In 1979, the book became the basis of a movie of the same name, directed by Francesco Rosi.
More about Carlo Levi...
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“L'altra parola, che ritorna sempre nei discorsi è crai, il cras latino, domani. Tutto quello che si aspetta, che deve arrivare, che deve essere fatto o mutato, è crai.
Ma crai significa mai.”
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