- Paperback: 220 pages
- Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd; New edition edition (25 Mar. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 185754434X
- ISBN-13: 978-1857544343
- Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 1.3 x 21.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,397,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Council of Egypt Paperback – 25 Mar 1999
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'During the last quarter century, Sciascia has made out of his curious Sicilian experience a literature that is not quite like anything else ever done by a European' Gore Vidal. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Leonardo Sciascia (1921–1983) was a novelist and politician whose works were often set in his troubled, mafia-blighted homeland of Sicily. He hailed from Racalmuto in the south-west of the island and lived there for much of his life.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
On the one hand we have the opportunist priest who, for political gain and later, blackmailing the nobility, invents and adapts history to fit the changing political landscape. On the other, Di Blasi, a minor noble with humanist inclinations, gradually loses influence as political events move towards religious and political conservatism. We explore the debauched gentility of Palermo society (i.e. the politics of the gentry) with him. The 2 men are linked by their shared understanding that truth is negotiable and subvertible.
The writing is superbly sensuous and this is Sciascia's genius - it makes the end of the book a truly disconcerting view into the void beneath civilisation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
So begins his career of forger, which brings for him great rewards at a time of political turbulence, sparked by the Viceroy's atempt at agrarian reform which elicits the rage of the corrupt landed gentry. Vella uses his forged documents (the "Councils" of Sicily and Egypt) to further ignite the fire...
What makes some mysteries and intrigue novels stand above the genre and graduate as great literature is the use of the plot to further probe into the human psyche and passions, as well as history. Sciascia does so here brilliantly, making a portrait of ambition, cynicism, and the tragic fate of idealists and justice-makers. Likewise, he produces a superb depiction of a remote corner of Europe, in the middle of the fight against privileges during the Ilustration. Sciascia is in full possession of his art, with a tightly controlled rhythm, a great use of tension, and a precise language. Much recommended.
Sloppiness makes this great novel seem like much less in English than it is in Italian.
This is not a mafia novel. This is a historical novel set in 18th century Palermo. If you are interested in Sciascia primarily because you are interested in crime or mafia novels, this may not be the book for you.
That's not to say that the mafia isn't present in the book-- they're here alright, they just aren't called the mafia quite yet. Here the crooks are called Baron, Monsignor, Abbot, Viceroy, Judge, and Prince.
I overlooked this book for a long time because I usually avoid historical novels. (Novels written in 18th century--fine. Novels written in the 20th about the 18th century--no. I hate costume dramas.) But this is truly one of Sciascia's best, most political, and thought-provoking books. It is a historical novel about what modern Sicily has inherited from its past, and how things really had not changed much between the 1780s and the 1960s.
As good or better than anyhing he wrote.