L. Trotsky

Book Review


(July 1933)

Written: 20 July 1933.
Source: The Militant, Vol. VI No. 40, 26 August 1933, p. 4.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2015. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

S.S. Bulgaria July 20, 1933

A Novel by I. Silone
Zurich 1933

A remarkable book! From the first line to the last it is directed against the Fascist regime in Italy, against its lies, its violence, and book of passionate political propaganda. But revolutionary passion is raised here to such heights that it creates a truly artistic work. Fontamara is only a poor, god forsaken village in the South of Italy. In the space of the book’s two hundred pages, this name becomes a symbol of the whole Italian countryside, its poverty, its despair, but also of its indignation.

Silone knows the Italian peasantry remarkably well: the first 20 years of the author’s life, according to his own words, were spent in “Fontamara”. Embellishment and sentimentality are foreign to him. He knows how to see life as it is, how to generalize what he sees by means of the Marxist method and then to embody his generalizations into artistic images. The story is told by the peasants, cafoni, paupers themselves. Despite the exceptional difficulty of this style, the author executes it like a real master. Some chapters have a stupendous force!

Has this book appeared in the Soviet Union? Has it drawn the attention of the publishing houses of the Comintern? The book deserves a circulation of millions of copies. But no matter what the attitude of the official bureaucracy may be towards works of truly revolutionary literature, Fontamara – we are convinced – will make its way into the official bureaucracy [some text missing here]. To assist in the circulation of this book is the duty of every revolutionist.

L. Trotsky

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Last updated on: 22 October 2015