A Chacun Son Du

ISBN: 207037517X
ISBN 13: 9782070375172
By: Leonardo Sciascia

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1001 Books 1001 Import 1001 To Read Crime Fiction Italian Italy Mystery Nyrb To Read

About this book

In un paese dell'entroterra siciliano, una lettera anonima minaccia di morte il farmacista, uno che "viveva tranquillo, non aveva mai avuto questioni, non faceva politica". L'uomo pensa a uno scherzo, ma la minaccia si avvera puntualmente, al termine di una giornata di caccia. Un delitto che sembra non avere perché, ed offre pochi appigli al professore di liceo che, quasi mosso da un astratta passione intellettuale, si ritrova a cercarne il bandolo in una rete di silenzi e di complicità. Un romanzo sulla mafia, e al tempo stesso un "giallo" amaro e ironico in cui personaggi, paesaggio e dialogo hanno un nitido rilievo tra vibrata denuncia e compiuta raffigurazione poetica...

Reader's Thoughts

Tony

Sciascia, Leonardo. TO EACH HIS OWN. (1968; this ed. 2000). *****. This is the first novel I have read by this author, and I am impressed enough to track down more of his books. Sciascia (1921-1989) was born in Racalmuto, Sicily. He published several novels and collections of short stories starting in the 1950s, most of them quasi-detective novels in which the main character was not a detective, but an ordinary citized of one kind or another. In this novel, a pharmacist from a small town in Sicily and his hunting companion were murdered while the two of them were out hunting. On the day before, the pharmacist had received a note – cut out from a newspaper – that stated: “This letter is your death sentence. To avenge what you have done, you will die.” The pharmicist and the postman who delivered the letter laughed it all off as some kind of sick joke. It wasn’t. Onto the scene comes Professor Laurana, a teacher of Italian and literature at the local high school. He becomes curious about the double murder of the pharmacist and his companion, a local doctor, and begins to seek out clues to solve the mystery. In his efforts to learn more about both of the murdered men, Laurana begins to stick his nose into places where it doesn’t belong, and begins to put a bunch of suppositions together that, although he doesn’t feel comfortable with them, begin to make sense to him and ultimately point to the killer and the motive. This is a well crafted novel that explores the nature of the average Sicilian’s attitude towards authority, sex, and greed. It provides a keen insight into the mindset of the people of Sicily, especially as regards the doings of all of their neighbors in a small town. Highly recommended.

Kristel

Bookshelves: read, mysteries, 1001-books, world-literatureRead on: Jul 7, 2014 - Jul 7, 2014kristel's ReviewA literary crime novel by Sicilian novelist Leonardo Sciascia. An anonymous letter arrives to the pharmacist and it states "This letter is your death sentence. To avenge what you have done you will die." The pharmacist can't think of anything that he has done and decides it is a joke. He and his hunting doctor friend are found shot dead on their hunting trip. The police can find no reason and therefore blame the pharmacist of an affair with a young girl who was picking up prescriptions frequently, ruining her life and the pharmacist widow's life. A high school teacher with a literary bent, notices a clue and out of curiosity begins to seek out more clues in the mystery. His amateur sleuthing results in unexpected, tragic results. The story was published in 1966 in Italian and it was translated to English in 1968 under the title of A Man's Blessing. The edition I read was published in 2000 and translated by W. S. Di Piero. It is a very quick read. I read it in a day (I am not a fast reader). It is 158 pages.

Corey

I started in Italian (for my Survey of Italian Lit and Culture class), but I just don’t have the time I wish I did to really study the text and understand everything, so I ended up just buying it in English, so then I was able to bang it out in a couple of days. SO. INTERESTING! I TOTALLY knew who was guilty the whole time, and I knew what would happen, and it did, but that didn’t make it uninteresting. It’s definitely a tragedy, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Sicilian author from the 1960’s. I can’t really say much else about this book without spoilers, but I did enjoy it.

Paula

Interesting take on the detective story - a crime whose mystery is undone at the end, not in the usual way of unveiling villain but by showing the crime as somehow underwhelming or insignificant. It's a really smart and subtle reversal. Closing scene is strongest of book, and, even on a second reading, still surprised me. Economically told. If you're looking for high drama, lots of action, this prob isn't a good bet though.

Andrea Bovino

Breve ma intenso. Sciascia propone al lettore un romanzo/giallo pieno di tratti caratteristici della sua terra, analizzando la situazione politica e malavitosa della stessa, senza però tralasciare aspetti culturali. Scorrevole e sintetico. Il finale non è sorprendente ma molto riflessivo. Consigliato.

Guido

Sciascia non può resistere alla tentazione di guarnire i suoi scritti con nomi importanti e significativi: Voltaire, Quasimodo, Camus; ma sa menzionarli con garbo e passione, senza alcuna arroganza. Con uno spirito quasi settecentesco trascura o limita l'azione per amore della conversazione, delle brevissime digressioni dedicate alla politica, all'attualità sociale o alla critica letteraria, abilmente inserite nei dialoghi, mai pedanti. Perciò A ciascuno il suo è come un giallo, ma non lo è del tutto, come annuncia lui stesso scegliendo per l'epigrafe introduttiva una citazione di Poe: non crediate che io stia per svelare un mistero o per scrivere un romanzo. Tuttavia il mistero c'è, e anche il romanzo, nonostante il corso della trama sia lineare, piuttosto prevedibile e quasi interamente affidato ai discorsi tra i personaggi. Questi formano un insieme curiosamente ordinato, privo di ridondanze, che sembra governato da un gioco di doppi letterari, di personalità complementari o in antitesi: il timido professore di liceo e lo stimato dottore, un tempo compagni di scuola e adesso divisi da evidenti differenze di carattere; l'onorevole democristiano e il deputato comunista; un'anziana madre tradizionalista, memoria dei tanti intrighi del paese, e un oculista in pensione, convinto anticlericale e ormai paradossalmente cieco; l'irreprensibile arciprete, diligente lettore dell'Osservatore romano, e il parroco, prete per costrizione, che si libera appena può delle copie del quotidiano; due donne rese vedove dallo stesso delitto: la prima ammirata e discussa, la seconda derisa e subito dimenticata. Elencandoli in questo modo ho quasi l'impressione di tracciare delle linee rette: ma l'intreccio di relazioni e parentele ricorda piuttosto un elaborato arabesco, un disegno curvilineo di steli e foglie. Il romanzo ha due finali: il primo esprime una morale classica, severa e inequivocabile; il secondo serve a svelare una parziale soluzione dell'enigma, come nella tradizione dei gialli del primo novecento. Così all'amante della narrazione, perfettamente appagato, non resta più nulla da desiderare: sopravvivono alla finzione alcuni dubbi, domande senza risposta, idee nate dal semplice dramma siciliano appena vissuto; strumenti utilissimi per indagare e comprendere la realtà.

Nancy Oakes

To Each His Own is only one of the author's long list of novels translated into English; it is a literary, intelligent and yet unconventional novel of Italian crime fiction. And it's superb.The story begins when the local pharmacist, Manno, receives a death threat in the mail: "This letter is your death sentence. To avenge what you have done, you will die." He waves it off guardedly as a joke, because he can't think of anything he's done to merit this kind of warning, but when he and his friend Dr. Roscio go off hunting the next day, they do not return. Only their dogs are left to announce their deaths. The authorities make a perfunctory appearance, questioning the pharmacist's widow as to what kind of behavior could have built up such animosity that it would be worthy of revenge. Settling on the fact that he must have been killed by a jealous husband or lover because of some kind of adulterous behavior, a sort of collective fiction is born regarding the pharmacist's (unfounded) extramarital flirtations. Once that ball has started rolling and the rumors start flying, his "adulteries" become the "official" reason for his death among the locals. Roscio's death is put down to him being the poor guy who just happened to be an innocent bystander; caught in a bad place at a bad time, the victim of Manno's "bad" behavior. After the funerals are over, having settled on a reason for the murders, the townspeople turn their focus to the future of Roscio's voluptous widow, Luisa.There is, however, one person, high-school teacher Professor Laurana, who is still thinking about what may have actually happened. He picks up on an important clue about the threatening letter, noticing that the word "Unicuique" comes through the paper in the light. Laurana realizes that the words "Unicuique suum" is one of the mottoes printed under the masthead of the newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. At this point, Laurana's vanity and curiosity compel him to follow his hunches, and then he "doggedly sets about doing so", unable to let the matter rest like everyone else. At the same time, it becomes clear that uncovering the truth is a very personal matter rather than a means of securing justice: "...Laurana had a kind of obscure pride which made him decisively reject the idea that just punishment should be administered to the guilty one through any intervention of his. His had been a human, intellectual curiosity that could not, and should not, be confused with the interest of those whom society and State paid to capture and consign to the vengeance of the law persons who transgress and break it." Laurana is an interesting character: he lives a sheltered life with his mother and in the halls of academia. He has a firm "belief in the supremacy of reason and candor over irrationality and silence...", even though he's a lone stranger within a culture that exemplifies the opposite. He lives in a society where truth falls victim to the ongoing maintenance of the accepted status quo by people "who have every interest in working to keep the impunity coefficient high." His curiosity is unwelcome in such a system, and along the way his need to know will turn his understanding of the real world on its head and even worse.Although the crime fiction aspect of this book will keep the reader turning pages trying to figure out exactly what happened, the story operates on other levels as well. It is a commentary on the justice system, party politics, the Church, and other facets of Sicilian culture. And, as di Piero notes in the introduction, Sciascia "used storytelling as an instrument for investigating and attacking the ethos of a culture -- the insular, mafia-saturated culture of Sicily -- which he believed to a metaphor of the world."One of the basic points the author makes throughout this book is that there are various levels of criminality in which we are all complicit, so in that sense, the metaphor is not too far off the mark.Readers of more socially and politically-oriented crime fiction will like this book, as will readers of literary fiction. It's intelligent, thought-provoking and frankly, is very high on my list of good books for the year.

Elizabeth

The poetic yet reportage-style prose of Sciascia is unparalleled; every sentence reads like a masterpiece to me-- even this: "August 23, 1964, was the last blessed day pharmacist Manno spent on this earth. According to the coroner, he lived it to sunset." A story about an amateur detective, the Mafia, political corruption, an entire town's silent (and eerie) implication in murder, a critique of Sicilian society and its secretiveness, and a chilling study of omertà. Curiosity is a very dangerous thing for a character to have in this book and due measures are taken to ensure that the truth is not exposed.

Byax

La Sicilia di Sciascia è da leggere. I film di Petri sono da guardare. La grandezza di Volonté è da amare.

Mike

Man living in a brutal, corrupt, and cynical society shows just enough talent to puzzle things out, but fails when it comes to negotiating with the monsters he has found. Imagine the movie They Live but instead of a macho, heroic everyman putting on the sunglasses some poor middle-class sap wore them instead. Sadly, the events outlined in this book are closer to the everyday than Carpenter's classic.Someday I'd like to fly into Palermo, and touch ground via the Aeroporto Falcone e Borsellino. I'm no Catholic, but it would be something like a Sabbatum Sanctum fly landing on the body of Christ to grab a quick bite — a pilgrimage in anticipation of something holy.

Maria

Sciascia è uno dei miei scrittori preferiti, adoro la sua scrittura lucida, implacabile, specchio di una realtà come quella da lui descritta non meno spietata.

Maria Grazia

Una lettera anonima, due morti ammazzati dei quali uno è il vero obiettivo e l'altro un effetto collaterale, un delitto che si vuole passionale. Tutto chiaro, o no?Non so dire se è Sciascia incredibilmente moderno, oppure è la realtà italiana che non è cambiata di una virgola in tutti questi anni.Sicuramente la chiesa, la politica, la piccineria della gente, gli intrallazzi, l'omertà e la mafia non sono diversi, ora come allora.In più, il libro è scritto benissimo.

Elizabeth

Another classic (English title: To Each His Own). Sicilian author Leonardo Sciascia depicts the role of corruption and violence in small-town Sicily in the guise of a murder mystery. When two local men are shot while out on a hunting trip, everyone in town speculates about the murderer and his motives, and the book follows the discoveries and deductions made about the killings by a school teacher named Laurana. In the end, the identity of the murderer is less important than the insight the book gives into how the tentacles of corruption take hold of a society. An excellent book.

David

A social critique masquerading as a nuts-and-bolts murder mystery, To Each His Own casts mama's boy Sicilian professor Laurana as the Signora Angela Lansbury in this breezy episode of Double Homicide, He Wrote. Lacking any sleuthing credentials except curiosity and naivité, Laurana starts sniffing around town after two acquaintances are murdered on a hunting expedition. Even worse news: a dog also dies, but this hierarchy reflects my own sympathies and not Leonardo Sciascia's. Rather, he's interested in exposing sociocultural complicity in crime, particularly in his native Sicily—where the mafia is enabled by a brazenly see-no-evil ethos and a Schadenfreude ravenous for victims. I'm not usually a murder mystery kind of guy, but To Each His Own really isn't terribly concerned with the 'who' in the whodunnit, preferring instead to train a revelatory flashlight on the crawling vermin that an overturned stone reveals. But don't be dissuaded by the redeeming social critique; the book's also just a plain old fashioned good yarn, told in unadorned prose and brisk economy. I gobbled it up in the spare moments of only a single day.

Marco

Questa specie di nave corsara che è stata la Sicilia, col suo bel gattopardo che rampa a prua, coi colori di Guttuso nel suo gran pavese, coi suoi più decorativi pezzi da novanta cui i politici hanno delegato l'onore del sacrificio, coi suoi scrittori impegnati, coi suoi Malavoglia, coi suoi Percolla, coi suoi loici cornuti, coi suoi folli, coi suoi demoni meridiani e notturni, con le sue arance, il suo zolfo e i suoi cadaveri nella stiva: affonda, amico mio, affonda... E lei ed io, io da folle e lei forse da impegnato, con l'acqua che ci arriva alle ginocchia, stiamo qui ad occuparci di Raganà: se è saltato dietro al suo onorevole o se è rimasto a bordo tra i morituri.»«Non sono d'accordo» disse Laurana.«Tutto sommato nemmeno io» disse don Benito.

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