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Without Blood by Alessandro Baricco

Without Blood (2002)

by Alessandro Baricco

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English (4)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (12)
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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In a farmhouse deep in the Italian countryside a horrifying act of violence occurs. The one family survivor from this vendetta is four-year-old Nina. And she lives only because of an extraordinary act of mercy. Many years later, as a woman in her fifties, Nina meets her childhood saviour and revisits the events of that fateful night, events which have shaped her entire life. Without Blood is a haunting novella about longing, memory and forgiveness from the much-loved author of Silk. 'Tantalising and effortlessly evocative. Written in spare, electrically charged prose, it is a haunting psychological study of violence and passion.' Age Alessandro Baricco is the author of several works of fiction including, Ocean Sea, Silk, and City. He has won the Prix Medicis Etranger in France and the Selezione Campiello, Viareggio, and Palazzo del Bosco literary prizes in Italy. His international bestseller Silk has been translated into twenty-seven languages and is the basis of an opera by Andre Previn and a major motion picture to be produced by Miramax. textpublishing.com.au… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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