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November 19, 2018


#NonFicNov week 4 Reads Like Fiction

by NancyElin

  • Author: Carlo Levi (1902-1975)
  • Title: Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year
  • Published: 1945   (275 pg)
  • Genre: memoir
  • Trivia: Matera (setting book)
  • Some of the scenes from Mel Gibson’s
  • …Passion of the Christ were filmed here.
  • List of Challenges 2018
  • Monthly plan
  • Non-Fiction Reading List
  • #NonFicNov


Week 4: (Nov. 19 to 23) – Reads Like Fiction (Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction): Nonfiction books often get praised for how they stack up to fiction. Does it matter to you whether nonfiction reads like a novel? If it does, what gives it that fiction-like feeling? Does it depend on the topic, the writing, the use of certain literary elements and techniques?


  • I have selected Christ Stopped at Eboli
  • …which is rarely seen on reading lists.
  • What gives this book it that fiction-like feeling?
  • Top-notch writing….absolutely breathtaking!



  1. Every Italian schooled in Italy has read
  2. …Carlo Levi’s book Christ Stopped at Eboli.
  3. Eboli is a town just south of Salerno in Southern Italy.
  4. Once you go south past Amalfi, you enter the REAL Italy.
  5. Carlo Levi was a doctor, a writer and painter who originally
  6. …lived in Turin in the northern province of Piedmont.
  7. He was an outspoken opponent to the creeping Fascism.
  8. Because he was not quiet about his beliefs,
  9. Levi was sent into exile for two years to a tiny southern Italian hill town
  10. …in the southern province of Lucania called Aliano.


Why was this book so important in 1940s?

  1. Levi’s writings went on to shed light on what was later called the Shame of Italy.
  2. The Shame of Italy was the fact that the
  3. …people of the nearby hill town of Matera lived in abject squalor.
  4. Levi’s book caused an uproar
  5. The people of Matera were moved out and into government built houses.
  6. They were provided food and medicine.


What does the title mean?

  1. Locals told Levi that Cristo si e Fermata A Eboli”.
  2. Christ stopped at Eboli, north of them and
  3. ….not even Christ himself had cared to come this far south.



  1. This is an account of anti-fascist Carlo Levi’s exile
  2. 1935-1936 in the peasant village of Aliano.
  3. In the book the name is changed to Gagliano.
  4. Strong point: Top-notch quality writing.
  5. For example Carlo Levi describes Gagliano:
  6. “…I had a feeling of disgust for the clinging contact
  7. of the ridiculous spider web of their daily life
  8. …dust-covered skein of self-interest.”
  9. But at the end of the book Carlo Levi had difficulty leaving Gagliano.
  10. This book is a gem
  11. …but it has fallen between the cracks!
  12. It is on my list of  TOP-10 books of 2018!
  13. #MustRead….you will not be disappointed!


Carlo Levi



16 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have a copy of this book that I’d planned to read before I visited Italy last May. I haven’t yet, but maybe I will get to it a little sooner thanks to you.

    • Nov 19 2018

      It is a wonderful book to read on a lazy day
      …tea, cookies, chocolate!

  2. Nov 19 2018

    I absolutely love how you broke this one down!

    • Nov 19 2018

      When book is so good…reviews just write themselves!
      You can see in some of my reviews…short? Then I was not very enthralled with the book.
      That happens with the connotation: good …but not great.
      This book was great!
      Thanks for your comments!

  3. Nov 19 2018

    This one’s on my TBR pile, too. I keep thinking of that trip to southern Italy, but maybe it will have to get read sooner!

    • Nov 20 2018

      Reese, this is such a beautifully written book.
      Carlo Levi deserves to be in the spotlight!
      Thanks so much for stopping by leaving your comment.

  4. Michael
    Nov 20 2018

    I’d never heard of this one, but the book and the author’s life both sound super interesting. Thanks for the introduction!

    • Nov 20 2018

      I have no idea how I stumbled on to this book myself!
      Great reading is all about surprises and learning something in the process
      …otherwise what’s the point?
      I hope you enjoy thhis book!

  5. There are so many overlooked books out there! Thanks for bringing attention to this one. It does sound outstanding.

    • Nov 20 2018

      Each year during #NonFicNov I discover so many new books.
      I am always amazed the different types of non0-ficton books that peole enjoy
      True crime is popular…but I never read it. Foodie books are also on many lists.

  6. Nov 20 2018

    How interesting that Italian schoolchildren read it but many in North America have probably never heard of it (or at least I haven’t.) Thanks for sharing.

    • Nov 20 2018

      #NonFicNov…great way to share books!

  7. Nov 25 2018

    You know, I’ve heard of Levi, and heard of this book but didn’t really know anything about it. The thing I loved most about this post was that point that all Italians do this at school, because it made me realise that I know the sorts of books most of the major English speaking countries do at school, but I don’t know much at all about what Italian kids, or French ones, or German ones etc do – though I could have some guesses!

    • Nov 25 2018

      I stumbled upon this book and was captured by the Levi’s powers of observation and writing.
      It brought an arid forgotten part of Itally to life. I’m going to try to find more books by him.
      Thanks for your comments, Sue.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #NonFicNov week 1 Top 10 books | NancyElin
  2. Monthly Planning | NancyElin

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