A HANDFUL OF BLACKBERRIES by Ignazio Silone
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A HANDFUL OF BLACKBERRIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Silone's new novel- his first in several years- is beautiful, humane and strong. He is still emphasizing- as he did in Fontamara and Bread and Wine- the dignity of man, his struggles to live decently, and the fundamental conflict between Marxism and Christianity. This new novel is set in various small villages in Italy after the war. The protagonist is an engineer named Rocco who has been a Partisan leader during the last year of the war, but who now finds himself disenchanted with the Communist Party of which he has been a member for many years. His major concern is, and always has been, the poverty of the people of Italy. Coupled with this concern is his strong intellectual libertinism and a religious faith. He believes that the Party was a great force when it was underground, but now that it is composed of persecutors. Rocco is in love with a Jewish orphan named Stella who has also been an active Communist. When Rocco first leaves the Party, Stella is dismayed, but gradually she too becomes horrified by the Party's merciless methods. There is also the indefatigable freebooter, Zaccaria; his wise and womanly wife; the rebellious son of the charcoal burner, Martino, the fairminded but fallible Priest, Don Nicola- they all add to the book's rich Italian and human flavor which has as well a deep feeling of this land and its seasons.... The press here may be more significant than the sales.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1953
Publisher: Harper