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Without Blood

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Without Blood.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Alessandro Baricco(Author)

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4.2 (12239)
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Book details

  • PDF | 96 pages
  • Alessandro Baricco(Author)
  • Text Publishing; 1st Edition/1st Printing edition (2004)
  • English
  • 9
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By James W. Fonseca on February 21, 2018

    There’s a short preface that tells us this story is not set anywhere in particular. But we can imagine that it is in Spain just at the end of the Spanish Civil war. Or, since it is translated from the Italian, we might imagine that it is fighting among the partisans in Italy during WW II.In any case, the theme is the cruelty of war and how people attempt to justify the killings. We have multiple layers of moral dilemmas and moral complexity. A man justifies the atrocities of war saying that he wants to build a more just society and you must destroy to rebuild, so this is the price.Here’s the basic story: a man in a rural farmhouse is gunned down by four men who arrive in a car. He is a doctor who had been accused of being a torturer of prisoners from the other side. Yet the war was over when he was killed, so was his killing justified? A very young boy is also killed. He shot his gun at the killers to protect his father. So, was his killing justified?During the killings of the man and his son, a young soldier, a boy really, spots a girl under a trap door in the cellar. He doesn’t reveal to the others that she is hiding in there. The whole story derives from this one instant. “Have I ever been in a moment that is not this one?”Eventually a local man finds her, takes her in and treats her well. But when she is 14, he “loses” her to a wealthy man in a card game. So does that action nullify his years of caring for her with kindness?After hearing and partly seeing her father and brother killed above her head, she spends her life in and out of mental hospitals and tracking down the killers and killing them. In her old age, she has found the last one, the man who saved her, Does she kill him too?It’s a very short that can be read in a sitting. It’s not really even a novella, more of a long short story. It’s written in the style of an allegory or a fable, so the implausibility of the ending doesn’t really have to bother us.

  • By Lakis Fourouklas on November 10, 2011

    Baricco has a unique gift with words and an ability to enchant the readers with his stories. Every time I read one of his books I'm met with a new surprise, and it's always a pleasant one. The main protagonist in this novella is Nina. At the beginning of the story we meet her while hiding with her family in an old house in the countryside, in an anonymous country, during an unnamed civil war, which however reminds us of the Spanish. Nina's father, Manuel Roca, is not on the winning side, and he seems to have a lot of enemies, so they have to live in hiding to stay alive. But no matter how much they want to escape the past, one day it will catch up with them and the results will be devastating. Their enemies, headed by a man called Salinas, will track them down and a battle will ensue during which Manuel and his son will be killed. Little Nina however who during all this hustle was hidden in the basement will survive. And then... And then the years swiftly go by, and there comes a time that Nina sets out to take her revenge. She's afraid of nothing and of no one and she's determined to spare no effort to reach her goal. And thus yesterday's hunters become today's prey. Of course, as one would expect, in a Baricco story nothing is exactly the way it looks; the author seems to suggest that every coin has two different sides; but of course that doesn't mean that the one voids the other. At the end of the day what counts the most are the facts; it is them that write the history, it is them that engrave the souls. It is them thus that engraved Nina's soul, but they were not enough to completely rob her from her humanity, because even though she's out for revenge she's not willing to inflict more pain than the pain inflicted on her, while at sometime she reaches a certain point where she can stare with a clear eye on her enemies' truths. Besides, as we read: "You cannot dream of a better world and think that it will be delivered just because you ask for it." The world is what it is, the author seems to say, the past cannot change, but it's nevertheless worth the trouble to fight to make today and tomorrow a little bit better, a bit more humane. This is a well-written novella about the recurrent mistakes of men and their eternal passions.

  • By KH1 on July 17, 2004

    Although I did not enjoy Baricco's lastest work as much as his best-seller "Silk", I found that the three qualities that impressed me the most with "Silk" - form, purity of style and language, and imagery - were employed with equal skill in "Without Blood." Told in two chapters, each approximately 45 pages in length, "Without Blood" begins as the story of a young girl who witnesses the assassination of her father and young brother. The assassins, a man named Salinas, his henchman, known only as "El Gurre", and a young man of twenty named Tito, kill her father and brother, and then realizing that she mus tbe hidden somewhere in the house, burn it to the ground. In the second half of the novel, an old woman seeks out a final revenge. Like his work "Silk", "Without Blood" has a simple story. It is not the plot, but the immensely deep and tragic characters that make the novella great. The only problem that I had with the novella is during hte dialogue, Baricco inserts pauses that made it very hard to determine who was speaking, and it is only for this reason that I did not give it five stars.


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