After Hannibal by Barry Unsworth

By Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth, the Booker Prize-winning writer of Sacred Hunger and the bestselling Morality Play, returns in best shape with this worldly, bittersweet comedy of manners and morals set in a single of Italy's so much 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 contain the vegetables, a retired American couple looking serenity one of the Umbrian hills, who're bilked out in their mark downs by means of the corrupt English "building expert" Stan Blemish; the Chapmans, a British estate speculator and his spouse, whose dispute with their pals 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 conflict; and Fabio and Arturo, a homosexual couple who, trying to find peace and self-sufficiency, locate treachery as an alternative. And on the heart of these kinds of webs of deceit and greed is the crafty attorney Mancini, chuffed to assist the disputants--and to take advantage of to the fullest the religion that those "innocents abroad" have positioned in him.  

Mining his genius for historic narrative in addition to his present for sharp-eyed portraiture and deliciously droll storytelling, Barry Unsworth has written a fabulous entertainment.  After Hannibal is certainly one of this striking author's best creations.

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There's hope for you yet, Bessie," he said. "Well, if I can't get Buddy on the phone, and even you won't help, I'm going to have to do something," Mrs. Glass said. Looking vastly troubled, she sat smoking for a long moment. Then: "If it was something strictly Catholic, or like that, I might be able to help her myself. I haven't forgotten everything. But none of you children were brought up as Catholics, and I really don't see—" Zooey cut her short. "You're off," he said, turning his lathered face toward her.

Glass interrupted, but cautiously. Zooey put a hand on each side of the washbowl and leaned his chest forward a trifle, his eyes on the general background of enamel. For all his slightness of body, he looked at that moment ready and able to push the washbowl straight through the floor. "The Four Great Vows," he said, and, with rancor, closed his eyes. ' Yay, team. I know I can do it. " His eyes stayed closed. "My God, I've been mumbling that under my breath three meals a day every day of my life since I was ten.

Glass seemed on the point of being diverted by Zooey's method of dealing with problems, but it was her day to suppress all forms of amusement. She stared at him for a moment, and then, slowly, a new look gathered in her eyes—resourceful, crafty, and a trifle desperate. "You know, I'm not as stupid as you may think, young man," she said. "You're all so secretive, all you children. " For emphasis, lips compressed, she brushed some imaginary tobacco flakes from the lap of her kimono. " Zooey turned and glanced at her.

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