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Sem Sangue by Alessandro Baricco

Sem Sangue (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Alessandro Baricco, Ann Goldstein

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5081219,998 (3.29)6
Title:Sem Sangue
Authors:Alessandro Baricco
Other authors:Ann Goldstein
Info:Edinburgh : Canongate, 2005.
Collections:Your library

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Without Blood by Alessandro Barrico (2002)


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Showing 4 of 4
I chanced upon this slim volume, lying hidden amidst a pile of "desperate-to-be-sold" books at the bookstore. The other books really looked like they deserved this desperation but there was something to Alessandro Baricco's Without Blood that made me pick it up.

There is a silken, mesmerizing quality to Without Blood. It begins with one of the most dramatic openings I have read - four men meet in a farmhouse, and settle an old feud with a former doctor. Nina, the doctor's daughter is the only one who survives the bloody massacre but that is only due to Tito, the youngest assassin who finds her hiding, and who in a moment of redemption spares her.

Fast forward 52 years later, and we find Nina meeting Tito. Through this conversation laced with delicate intrigue we are led to understand that Tito is the only survivor now - the others were murdered. You think the obvious - Tito is the next target. But Baricco is masterful - he draws us closer to an end that is neither predictable or common, but is wonderfully illuminating about the vastness of the human sphere. Complexly beautiful.

Without Blood can be read in just around 45 minutes or so, and it is well worth it if we can make space in our life for those 45 minutes. Because some moments from this book, especially the classic ending deserve a special memory in our time and space - they will last 52 years too. ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
Alessandros Baricco's very brief novel Without Blood is divided into two parts. The first depicts events in an unnamed country caught up in violent conflict. Three men lay siege to a farmhouse, finally killing the owner, Manuel Roca, after a bloody firefight, along with his young son. One of the men discovers a trap door in the floor of the house, where Roca has stashed his daughter Nina. He opens the door and he and the girl exchange glances. The girl turns away and without a word he closes the door and leaves, not giving the girl up to his murderous companions. In the second part a woman of late middle age encounters an elderly man selling newspapers at a kiosk in an unnamed city. She convinces him to come with her, first to a cafe where they share a bottle of wine, and then to a hotel room where they sleep together. The woman is Nina and the man, whose name is Tito, is the last survivor of the team who killed her father some fifty years earlier. Their conversation--which begins at the kiosk, continues over wine, and ends in the hotel room--covers all manner of topics related to murder and killing and revenge and war. But the main question that Nina has for this man who helped to obliterate her family is Why? Without Blood is a strange, dreamlike little book. At 97 pages, it is too short for us to form any kind of bond with the characters (though we feel sympathy for Tito, who fears for his life when Nina confronts him, and then resigns himself to whatever fate awaits) but nonetheless leaves us thinking about war and its victims, and the capricious nature of mercy. In the end, Baricco succeeds in blurring the line between perpetrator and victim and manages to speak volumes about forgiveness. ( )
  icolford | Dec 10, 2016 |
The book opens in an old isolated farmhouse, with a father and his two children (a boy and a girl). The father goes and looks out of the window at the sound of a car engine. What happens next is a shocking act of violence, that leaves the father and son shot dead. The daughter (Nina) although hidden away is discovered by Tito, the youngest of the killers.
“The child turned her he

This Novel could so easily have become a tale of revenge, carrying on with the bloody path it first seems to be taking, but it becomes so much more, with it’s beautiful understated prose, placing it in a no mans land, in a time and place unstated. It’s myth and like myth it’s relevance is timeless & like myth it mines the human psyche.This book is 87 pages of viscerally shocking, mesmerising writing. It takes no time to read and yet its stark landscape will become a backdrop to your thoughts .

http://parrishlantern.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/without-blood.html ( )
  parrishlantern | Jun 29, 2012 |
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Toen bedacht ze dat hoe onbegrijpelijk het leven ook is, je het
waarschijnlijk doorbrengt met niets anders dan het verlangen om terug te
keren naar de hel die je heeft voortgebracht, en om daar te leven aan de
zijde van degene die je ooit uit die hel heeft gered.
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"When - in an unnamed place and time - Manuel Roca's enemies hunt him down, they fail to discover Nina, his youngest child, hidden in a hole beneath his farmhouse floor. And so, doing just as her father instructed, she neither speaks nor stirs as he is viciously slain above her hiding place. Only after this carnage will one of the murderers discover Nina's trapdoor. But Tito, a mere boy himself, is so enthralled by the sight of Nina's perfect innocence that he says nothing to his accomplices." "By the time she has grown up, Nina's innocence will have bloomed into something else altogether, and one by one the wartime hunters will become the peacetime hunted. But not until a striking old woman calls upon an old man selling newspapers in town - the old man Tito has become - can we know what Nina will ultimately make of her brutal legacy. With the indelible truth of a fable, Without Blood reminds us that all wars are the same - the same mistake infinitely repeated in the hearts and deeds of wronged men and women - and that no life can remain untouched by loss or by hope."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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