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


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.


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.


[3.5 stars]I bought this because 1) I've wanted to get around to Sciascia, 2) it was on sale, and 3) it caught my eye because of what Calvino supposedly wrote to Sciascia re: this book -- that it was a detective novel that wasn't a detective novel, where the mystery is dismantled before your eyes.So we have a double murder, and a small-town professor who through some kind of boredom and vanity tries to solve the case by himself. A small-town professor who's single and lives with his mother in that quintessential Italian way that only happens in Italy it seems -- and this is not some throw-away detail, an easy way to caricature an Italian (stereo)type: it's essential to the story.But it's not really about the murder, nor is it about the small-town professor (though in some ways it might be that too). It's really about Sicily, and by extension, about Italy.Usually I start with the first line, or the first paragraph. In this case, it's all in the title: "A ciascuno il suo" -- "To each his own". Everyone knows (or thinks they know) what happened. "Despite the lack of any clues...there was no one in the town who hadn't already, on his own, secretly, resolved (or almost) the mystery."[1]Here, in Sicily, in Italy, what doesn't concern me doesn't concern me. There's an almost tribal closure, and a lack of civic-mindedness that runs through all aspects of society, slowly poisoning it. It's what Calvino is talking about when he says that this book demonstrates "the impossibility of a detective novel in the Sicilian setting."[2]The story is told with irony, because how else could you stand it?[1] my translation from the 2011 Gli Adelphi edition, page 30. "Pur mancando ogni indizio...non c'era uno nel paese che non avesse già, per conto suo, segretamente, risolto o quasi il mistero."[2] my translation, page 3. "...come viene dimostrata l'impossibilità del romanzo giallo nell'ambiente siciliano."


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.


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


This is a great mystery. With an obvious nod to L'Etranger by Albert Camus, Sciascia further shows how the contemporary Italian detective fiction writer understands the existential detective. This is more than just film noir caricatures. It is short, taut and to the point. This means it is not the encyclopedic mystery of the equally great Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose. But it's another wonderful example of the thinking detective with a no-nonsense attitude.


Normally I would flat out hate anything even remotely Mafia related (I once dated a guy who was obsessed with the Mafia and that sort of turned me off of it forever). To my surprise, and delight, this book wasn't really about the Mafia. The Mafia is there, a subtle, shadowy black hand moving in the background. The novella deals with the murder of two prominent citizens in a small town in Sicily. What we get is a glimpse of the social and political implications these deaths have on the town. Overall good and deftly written, but I can't help feeling like something was lost in the translation of Italian to English.

Marc L

Vrij kort, maar toch mooi moordverhaal dat meteen de kwalen en de ziel van Sicilië blootlegt, in de jaren '60: de achterlijkheid, de gecultiveerde lethargie, het hypocriete katholicisme, de ontbrekende overheid, de duistere wegen van de maffia. De intrige is kort voor het einde nogal voorspelbaar, maar de afgewogen schrijfstijl maakt veel goed.Una breve ma bella storia di omicidio che - secundo me - da una descrizione molto precizo del carratere della Sicilia negli anni sessanta. Alla fine un po' prevedibile, ma lo stile di scrittura è splendide!

Lynne King

I keep on coming across books on Goodreads that I already own and it is like being on a "magical mystery tour".I read this book when I had a great love for anything Sicilian (I still do in fact), be it books on cookery, travel, biographies, history, the mafia, bandits, etc. The list is just endless. And then to go to Sicily and just breathe in the atmosphere and culture is just mind-blowing - well to me anyway.So when I rediscovered "To Each His Own" by this incredible Sicilian author this morning I was delighted. It is a novella and only 146 pages long in the hardback and quick to reread.The story is relatively simple and concerns a pharmacist called Manno who receives a letter stating quite categorically "This letter is your death sentence. To avenge what you have done, you will die". I wonder if something got lost in the translation here?Well I won't tell you what exactly happened but the inevitable did, of course; and it is Professor Laurana who starts delving into this and soon meets Signora Luisa in the cemetery.From then on, the plot thickens to quote a cliché and the ending was certainly not what I had imagined.A great read.

Nicola Marangon

Primo libro di Sciascia per me. Mi è piaciuto molto, a dispetto delle recensioni che leggo qui: mi ha affascinato il modo dell'autore di costruire le frasi, inglobando nella narrazione il pensiero dei personaggi quasi fosse una sua considerazione personale. Anche il ritmo del racconto, decisamente lento e privo della suspense che ci si aspetterebbe da un "giallo", a mio avviso ben riflette lo spirito dei siciliani, che osservano e parlano al bar... Lungo quel tanto da permettere di entrare nella mente del professore e in tutta la realtà entro cui egli vive, corto abbastanza da ben apprezzare le sue lente elucubrazioni.


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.


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.


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.


من أكتر الروايات البوليسية اللي قراتها تشويقا و تعقيداً وربط للأحداثوالمميز فيها أكتر ربطها بسياسة إيطاليا بأكملها بجريمة قتل بطريقة مبهرة!تبدأ الأحداث عندما يتلقي صيدلي في مدينة صغيرة بإيطاليا رسالة تهديد تقوده لحتفه هو و دكتور في المدينة، و يبدأ الأستاذ لاورانا تتبع الجريمة بعد فشل الشرطة في الوصول إلى القاتلالمميز في تتبع خط سير وكشف لاورانا للحقائق، أنه لا يفعلها بدافع حبه للحق أو رغبته في تقديم المجرمين للعدالة (يصل به الأمر في النهاية أنه يبدأ بالتعاطف مع المجرمين بعد تعرفه عليهم) ولكنه يفعلها بدافع حب الإستكشاف فقط.يقوده كل خيط جديد إلى دليل جديد يدفعه إلى معاودة المحاولة بعد محاولته التخلي عن القضية و التركيز على مهنته كأستاذ للتاريخ و أبحاثه الأدبيةالنهاية من النوع المفاجئ، وهي من أفضل ما قرأت.الفكرة أن في الحوارات بين البطل و شخصيات مختلفة يتم إقحام سياسة إيطاليا و تعاملات الكنيسة و المافيا بطريقة تكاد تكون طبيعية، فلا تشعر أنها مقحمة على الرواية، وحتى الشخصيات توضح الفساد الذي كانت تعانيه إيطاليا.رواية أنصح بها جداً


In this short masterpiece, Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia uses the convention of the detective story to expose a web of entrenched connections between the mafia and politics, religion, the law and society. Curiosity and a perverse need to be something of a “know it all” leads Professor Laurana to follow the thread of a clue to a double murder in his small town. This lonely, sexually repressed bachelor is an odd man out : an intellectual long on book learning and short on street smarts, who reads Voltaire but isn’t always able to read the faces and motives of his friends and acquaintances. This is a brilliantly written story of nasty, brutish behavior with some memorably funny passages mixed in. Reader warning: the introduction has a spoiler, so you may want to read it as an afterword.

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