After Hannibal

After Hannibal

Book - 1997
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Barry Unsworth, the Booker Prize-winning author ofSacred Hungerand the bestsellingMorality Play, returns in top form with this worldly, bittersweet comedy of manners and morals set in one of Italy's most glorious--and historically treacherous--regions. Golden Umbria is home to breathtaking scenery and great art; it is also where Hannibal and his invading band of Carthaginians ambushed and slaughtered a Roman legion, and where the local place-names still speak of that bloodshed. Unsworth's contemporary invaders include the Greens, a retired American couple seeking serenity among the Umbrian hills, who are bilked out of their savings by the corrupt English "building expert" Stan Blemish; the Chapmans, a British property speculator and his wife, whose dispute with their neighbors over a wall escalates into a feud of nearly medieval proportions; Anders Ritter, a German haunted by the part his father played in a mass killing of Italian hostages in Rome during the Second World War; and Fabio and Arturo, a gay couple who, searching for peace and self-sufficiency, find treachery instead. And at the center of all these webs of deceit and greed is the cunning lawyer Mancini, happy to aid the disputants--and to exploit to the fullest the faith that these "innocents abroad" have placed in him.   Mining his genius for historical narrative as well as his gift for sharp-eyed portraiture and deliciously droll storytelling, Barry Unsworth has written a marvelous entertainment.  After Hannibalis one of this remarkable author's finest creations.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 1997, c1996.
ISBN: 9780385486514
0385486510
Characteristics: 250 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.

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WVMLStaffPicks Dec 30, 2014

Unsworth is a masterful writer, and his tale of English and American “foreigners” in Umbria is a humourous portrayal of the good life going bad. His cast of characters are longing to fit into the Italian countryside, to meld into the vineyards and the villas, the churches and the villages, but they are outwitted at every bend in the road. This ironic tale is a twist on the Bella Tuscany theme; a departure from Toujours Provence; and a reality check for those of us who think it would be so wonderful to set-up home in Italy’s beguiling countryside.

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