Penn State

Alica White - associate librarian and head of Penn State Mont Alto Campus Library, Penn State Mont Alto

Book Title: Christ Stopped at Eboli

Author: Carlo Levi

Book Description:

I chose Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi, an Italian Jewish writer and anti-Fascist leader because the novel contains themes intriguing to me personally and professionally. Exiled in 1935 to the remote southern village of Gagliano in the Lucania province of the Mezzogiorno, Levi paints a portrait of a people whose lives are governed by the seasons and a handful of entitled local residents. For the inhabitants of the small village, Christ and the redeeming ideals he embodied did not make it past Eboli, a small town north of Gagliano. For me, the novel asks and sometimes answers universal human questions. How do humans act when they feel abandoned by God, whether stressed by personal failings, bad luck, ill health, or evil dictators? In turn, we often find that of God in ourselves when responding to misfortune. How do we embrace others’ differences with love instead of hatred, appreciation rather than disparagement? Why do life’s misfortunes highlight extreme fragility in some of us and formidable strength in others? How do we incorporate irrational and rational explanations of the same phenomenon? How do insiders view outsiders and vice versa? Levi paints a stark, evocative portrait of the villagers that shows how one isolated spot on earth grapples with these universal questions.


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