Stunning and powerful, but at the same time so disturbing novel! Set in Italian industrial wasteland, this novel is far away from the tourist guides abStunning and powerful, but at the same time so disturbing novel! Set in Italian industrial wasteland, this novel is far away from the tourist guides about the beauties of wonderful Italy. But, it is a captivating story with very interesting construction and convincing characters and relationships, a story about the dark side of human character, tragic, bitter, raw, brutal, violent and aggressive... Тhe language is rough and too vulgar and obscenely for my taste, but still, so appropriate for the scenery. Sexual crime that is committed made me very uncomfortable, at the moments I was fill with revulsion. I was drawn, against my will, to be sympathetic for violent, sarcastic, alcoholic, unemployed father, neo-Nazi skinhead and womanizer, who is simply adored by his 13-years old son, ready to sacrifice himself for his father. The father-son relationship was incredibly heartwarming and realistic. At the same time, I was drawn to hate his poor mentally deranged friend. Interesting thing for me, as an atheist, were various interpretations of God's will. A religious – or anti-religious – theme emerges, as some characters feel, mistakenly, they are being guided by God, mostly because of their lack of education on a rural society. Most of them use magical thinking to put their destinies and those of others into "God's hands". By leaving decisions up to chance - relieving them of any responsibility - their actions are especially brutal. This is an intriguing but dark and tragic story of three men and a boy trapped in a cycle of poverty, frustrated desires and futile hope. I am still under the impressions of the book! ...more
Fascinating!!!!! A unique story! Unusual structure, superb and intriguing, one of the most original new novels of fiction, intelligent and full with phFascinating!!!!! A unique story! Unusual structure, superb and intriguing, one of the most original new novels of fiction, intelligent and full with philosophy... Reminds me a lot of Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose", which is one of my favorite novels! A brilliant mystery-novel of story within story within story... I won't say anything specific, only - My highest recommendation!!!...more
A powerfully written novel, breathtaking historical fiction about slavery, located on the island of Saint Domingue(French colony that will become HaitA powerfully written novel, breathtaking historical fiction about slavery, located on the island of Saint Domingue(French colony that will become Haiti), Cuba and New Orleans between 1770 and 1810, the time of French Revolution, the slave's revolt of Toussaint Louverture that formed the country of Haiti and the Louisiana Purchase. Isabel Allende took me to the wonderful journey into a world that fascinates me, Antilles... The tragic and heartbreaking story about the horror of life for a slaves, their constant lust and struggles for freedom, the cruelty and brutality that the masters inflicted on their slaves, injustice and radical discrimination, sufferings and desperation, but at the same time about hope and joy, love, passion, devotion and compassion. Told mainly in a third-person some chapters are told by Tété, mulatto slave in the first-person narrative. Tete's story shows the worst and the best of people, terrible violence and tender love.
And about the title, somewhere I read this: "The term 'island beneath the sea' refers to an underworld where the dead exist. In the novel, a great deal of violent death occurs, but the story — like Haiti's story now — belongs to the survivors."
"Many [newborns] died of tetanus, paralyzed, their jaws frozen; that was one of the island's mysteries, because whites did not suffer from that disease. The masters did not suspect that those symptoms could be provoked, undetected, by sticking a fine needle into a soft part of the baby's head before the cranial bones hardened. In that way the baby went happily to the island beneath the sea without ever experiencing slavery."
"...he invited me to lose myself in the music, the way you do in a dream. Dance, dance, Zarité, the slave who dances is free...while he is dancing, he told me. I have always danced." ...more