By Barry Unsworth
Barry Unsworth, the Booker Prize-winning writer of Sacred Hunger and the bestselling Morality Play, returns in most sensible shape with this worldly, bittersweet comedy of manners and morals set in a single of Italy's such a lot glorious--and traditionally treacherous--regions.
Golden Umbria is domestic to breathtaking surroundings and nice artwork; it's also the place Hannibal and his invading band of Carthaginians ambushed and slaughtered a Roman legion, and the place the neighborhood place-names nonetheless communicate of that bloodshed.
Unsworth's modern invaders comprise the vegetables, a retired American couple looking serenity one of the Umbrian hills, who're bilked out in their discounts via the corrupt English "building expert" Stan Blemish; the Chapmans, a British estate speculator and his spouse, whose dispute with their acquaintances over a wall escalates right into a feud of approximately medieval proportions; Anders Ritter, a German haunted via the half his father performed in a mass killing of Italian hostages in Rome throughout the moment global struggle; and Fabio and Arturo, a homosexual couple who, trying to find peace and self-sufficiency, locate treachery as an alternative. And on the middle of these kinds of webs of deceit and greed is the crafty attorney Mancini, chuffed to help the disputants--and to use to the fullest the religion that those "innocents abroad" have positioned in him.
Mining his genius for historic narrative in addition to his reward for sharp-eyed portraiture and deliciously droll storytelling, Barry Unsworth has written a wonderful entertainment. After Hannibal is one among this impressive author's most interesting creations.
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Extra info for After Hannibal
His father stayed behind to do evening chores. That winter was especially frigid and sometimes it took longer to bundle up than to cross from the kennel to the back porch. In the evenings they did dishes. She washed, he dried. Sometimes he put the towel over his shoulder and wrapped his arms around her, pressing his hands against her belly and wondering if he would feel the baby. “Here,” she’d say, holding out a steaming plate. ” But reflected in the frosty window over the sink he’d see her smile.
Edgar’s grandfather had been so fascinated that he’d gone to the library and located a book on Mendel and read it cover to cover. What he’d learned occupied his mind in odd moments. He thought back on the vision (if he could call it that) that had descended upon him as he shook Captain’s paw at The Hollow. It was one of those rare days when everything in a person’s life feels connected. He was twenty-five years old, but over the course of the last year his hair had turned steely gray. The same thing had happened to his grandfather, yet his father was edging up on seventy with a jet black mane.
Even if Edgar’s parents remained playfully evasive on the subject of how they’d met, other questions they answered directly. Sometimes they lapsed into stories about Edgar himself, his birth, how they’d worried over his voice, how he and Almondine had played together from before he was out of his crib. Because he worked beside them every day in the kennel—grooming, naming, and handling the dogs while they waited turns for training—he had plenty of chances to sign questions and wait and listen. In quieter moments they even talked about the sad things that had happened.
After Hannibal by Barry Unsworth