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Behind the Door (Quartet Encounters) Paperback – 1 Nov 1992

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Product details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Quartet Books; New edition edition (1 Nov. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704301768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704301764
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 650,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pappashanga on 19 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an exceptionally well written account of relationships between Ferrarese schoolboys circa 1930. It has everything, angst, sexuality, deceit, treachery, and a narrator who is as honest with himself as us. They are a well educated lot, and certainly their study of Latin is far in advance of anything that passes for Latin today.
The most important relationship is with the odious Luciano-the type of boy who sucks up to you and then runs you down behind your back. He gets off relatively lightly, but at least the narrator becomes aware of his true nature. It is not so much the story but how well it is put. Having read two other Bassani novels, I put him amongst the great writers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Alienation and awakenings 13 Sept. 2002
By Wavertree - Published on
Format: Paperback
This short but powerful novel by Giorgio Bassani is less well known than his most famous work, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. However, it deals with similar themes of alienation and the awakening into adulthood. At one level, this is a story of an adolescent Jewish boy surviving in the Catholic world of Ferrara in the 1930s. Although academically successful at school, he is set, and indeed places himself, apart from his peers. At another level, it is a story of sexual awakenings and sexual uncertainty. Perhaps above all it is about friendship, the betrayal of trust and entry into the adult world. Beautifully drawn by Bassani, and crisply translated by Weaver, like Moravia's 'Two Adolescents', this is a world too rarely visited with empathy and sensitivity. Well worth reading. It will bring back memories. It will make you think.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
As instrospective as it is autobiographical 17 April 2000
By Manuel Reguillo-Cruz - Published on
Format: Paperback
Giorgio Bassano died yesterday (15 April, 2000) at 84 in his beloved Bolonia. So I rush to write this review on one of his most famous texts, BEHIND THE DOOR. I think that, together with GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS, it is his most finished work.
A Jewish himself he fought against Fascism and attacked Mussolini from his Magazine BOTTEGHE OSCURE. He was also a member of the Resistence until his imprisonment in 1943.
This ambigous feeling of being both an Italian and an outcast in Fascist Italy, will permeate his writings. This is particularly evident in GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS. His ontological isolation will be a constant as a way of reacting to an Italian tradition that was inclined to live and let live with the Jews. Let's remember that Mussolini broke away with this tradition causing persecution of Jews and discontent among the Left-Wing. We'll see that this ontological isolation informs BEHIND THE DOOR as well.
It deals with the eternal theme of the access to the real world and the breaking-off with the adolescent world. The protagonist, a sensitive and intelligent young student, lives in a microcosmos of his own where strong and weak use each other and exploit themselves just as adults do. The discovery of sexuality, and therefore, of individuality and of the "other", causes an existential crisis from which the boy will come out as a man, only to discover that nothing has changed and thal evil is but one of the faces of Love.
This is very serious literature, deep and complex, and I think that Bassani's time has not yet arrived.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Little-Known Gem 1 Nov. 2012
By Robert Schneider - Published on
Format: Paperback
Another brilliant and insightful book that makes you wonder: Why isn't it better known? The book is fascinating on so many levels, not least because of its insights into Jewish ways of thinking. While not in any way anti-Semitic (or, better, self-hating -- Bassani was Jewish), it reveals truths that may make some Jewish readers (like me) slightly uncomfortable.

Most interesting for a 21st century American, however, is the education and mindset of mid-twentieth-century Italian teenagers of the upper middle class. Perhaps Bassani's portrayal is atypical, but they have a depth of knowledge and a sophistication about philosophy that can only make you despair: our own age seems so light and frivolous in comparison.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Boys are VERY romantic 21 Dec. 2005
By Ian Muldoon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a working class boy, I related to the life of Nick Romano in KNOCK ON ANY DOOR. Which is not to say that identifying with characters is ESSENTIAL to enjoying a novel. It is enough to empathise. Having said that, BEHIND THE DOOR captures the quality of intense feelings common to adolescent boys regardless of class - especially loyalty of friends and a powerful idealism tinged with a sense of justice. Boys know everything at 17 and few understand them, so they tend to believe, and fall in love quickly with adults, or peers of either sex. A beguiling novel rather than a rivetting one.
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