Il contesto: una parodia

ISBN: 8806010999
ISBN 13: 9788806010997
By: Leonardo Sciascia

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About this book

Intorno a un caso di cronaca si dipana la storia di un uomo che va ammazzando giudici e di un poliziotto che diventa il suo alter ego, in un paese del tutto immaginario e che tuttavia ricorda molto da vicino l'Italia, la Sicilia. Qui non vi sono più idee, i principi vengono calpestati, le ideologie si risolvono in mere denominazioni del gioco delle parti in politica, e su tutto domina un potere che "sempre più digrada nella impenetrabile forma di una concatenazione che approssimativamente possiamo dire mafiosa". Quello che doveva essere un "divertimento", una parodia, diviene un racconto molto serio via via che si delinea la successione di assassinii e funerali che scandisce la vita pubblica.

Reader's Thoughts


I should probably qualify this review by saying that I'm a sucker for detective novels that are secretly big honking metaphors for the human condition, so if you're not into that sort of thing Sciascia might not be for you. But if you are, I can guarantee that you will like this book. Set in a fantasy country suspiciously reminiscent of Sicily, it concerns a police investigator trying to catch a murderer who is assassinating judges, only to have his own investigation derailed by corrupt officials. It starts out quick and satirical, wets its feet in some philosophical discussion, and then ends on the perfect cynical note. Fair warning: you need to follow along pretty closely to understand exactly what happened at the end, and even if you do, there's still some muddiness. This particular edition has an introduction by Carlin Romano, the Inquirer book critic, and it's a great addition, explaining Sciascia's relationship to Sicilian politics and the Mafia.


Equal Danger is an obstuse, Kafkaesque fable (if Kafka wrote crime fiction) filled with suffocating disgust. Confusing but intriguing on first read.


Not my favorite Sciascia. Did like the twist where the protagonist dies before the end.


What just happened? What a strange but fascinating book.

Procyon Lotor

Ricordo solo che mi piacque "l'agudeza" e l'approccio laterale ben illustrato dal titolo, l'inserimento d'oggi � il riacquisto dopo �aaanni grazie a una felice bancarella sconto 40%! Lo rilegger� quindi lo recensir�. --- In un'altra edizione ha come sottotitolo "una parodia", in effetti c'� anche la parodia, oppure la metafora ma una buona met� del libro non spinge a immaginare una nazione che una strana evoluzione alternativa della Pangea o del Gondwana abbiano ricreato a destra dell'Adriatico, no: � proprio l'Italia. Le nozioni, le obiezioni, proposte e istanze sono spiattellate in modo che nemmeno un mezzobusto televisivo potrebbe dire "chiss� che cosa avr� mai voluto dire". Vero che l'eccesso di ammazzatine: un decennio di vendette giudiziarie in pochi giorni, l'uso di cognomi e toponimi fra lo spagnoleggiante, il sardo e il desueto, una luce metafisica da piazze alla De Chirico che abbaglia e immalinconisce, un eco di "raglia raglia giovine Itaglia!", un filosofare siculo che ascende come un arso lenzuolo ritorto e convoluto alitato dall'Etna, un vagare del personaggio fra Il Processo e Il Castello qualche digrignata di denti e schiocco, non rendono l'insieme che solo parzialmente (volutamente) realistico. Un para-giallo, un velo color zafferano, disteso sopra la Cognizione del Dolore e i suoi Parapag�l e Maradag�l; ma anche una prima parte virtuale del Pendolo di Foucault. C'� pure un po' di Tenente Drogo, ma uno zinz�no solo, come di noce moscata. Datato? Per nulla. Inutile? Ovviamente.


I found this giallo harder to get into a follow than I did 'A Ciascuno il Suo', however, I find the subject matter and the hidden tales fascinating. I will go on to study this for my exams so I look forward to analysing it in more depth.


The first NYRB book I've really disliked. Somehow manages to fail being interesting as a both a detective plot and as literature. Another nail in the coffin of 'literary' genre fiction.


This was recommended bu a Goodreads friend. (Thanks.) I've been hooked on foreign police procedurals for a while now, Mankell, Leon, Larsson, Turston, Eriksson and some other unspellables from Norway and Sweden. I guess what I really like about them is the sense of grayness and dark. There's a gloom, a sense of constant struggle, particularly in the Italian police procedurals, of labyrinthine bureaucracy, the little guy seeking small truths amidst a gigantic, corrupt society. British PP's are civilized, while American PP's (except for the funny ones) have a cauldron of violence just lurking beneath the surface. Enough generalizations.Equal Danger is representative of the Italian gloom but it's a fable about power that supersedes national boundaries. Rogas, a police detective, in an unidentified country, but clearly patterned on Sicily on the 70's?, has been assigned, against his better judgment, to investigate the serial killing of judges and prosecuting attorneys. His approach is extremely methodical. Rogas, seems to operate almost independently of his chain of command, and outside the corruption of the system.Rogas is the man of principles, the man without opinions; it's the only way he can stay with his job. His investigation leads him to the top levels of government. He is told to "sort of" drop the case. His boss says in a classic display of bureaucratese, "But right track or wrong,stay on it, stay on it." Rogas is supremely confident, but as the author says, "one can be cleverer than another, not cleverer than all others". The ending came as a shock.The author, in a note at the end of the book, calls it a fable which he didn't submit to his publisher for two years. His explanation? "I began to write it with amusement, and as I was finishing it, I was no longer amused. " Neither is the reader.You'll also learn about Black Rice.


I confess to being sort of confused by this novel, probably because I'm fairly ignorant of Italian history and politics, but I still found it intriguing. There's almost no character development and the whole thing revolves around the corruption of government ministers, police, and revolutionaries. I suppose you'd call it an existential-political noir thriller. There was one really funny part, but I won't spoil it for anyone by saying what it was.


Zaczęło się wesoło, skończyło się smutno i absurdalnie. Tak to już bywa.

Anna Toniato

***** Più che un giallo una riflessione amata e corrosiva sulla giustizia scritta in modo impeccabile.


An intriguing book, covering many big ideas in a very small space of just over a hundred pages - and yet this is a novel. Felt the need to familiarize myself with some of the other books referred to, and then read again.


Equal Danger is a short book that is long on ideas. The author keeps his writing lean and loaded with thought-provoking discussion and context.The plot focuses on a Police Inspector investigating the deaths of an (ever-growing) number of Legal Officials (Judges mostly) in an unnamed country. During the investigation, Inspector Rogas' leads force him to wade into the political area at both the top levels of the government, and the top levels of the revolutionary groups. As a Detective who simply follows the facts, he is ensnared in the politics that truly control things. The murders in the book come fast, and are given minimal factual attention, alerting the reader that more than traditional crimes are in play here. While this plotline may sound familiar, this book exceeds virtually every other crime tale I've read in its adherence to the ever-changing political caste system that pervades any bureaucracy. In typical crime novels, the protagonist usually is given special privilege, special backing and special dispensation to rise above his station. Sciascia offers no such help here. Beyond the criminal investigation plotline, and what really separates this book from other crime dramas, are the free-flowing ideas, references and discussions on society, justice, politics and government. The ending turns things upside down, but could it have been any different and be honest to the points raised in the book?Highly recommended.


Sciascia, Leonard. EQUAL DANGER. (1971). ****. This is an eerie crime novel from this noted Sicilian writer. District Attorney Varga is shot dead. Then Judge Sanza is killed. Then Judge Azar. Are these random murders, or part of a conspiracy? Inspector Rogas is put on the case, and very quickly decides that the murderer is a recently released felon who was wrongly convicted. Or is it? The ending will truly surprise you. Recommended.


** spoiler alert ** Hard to understand what point the author was trying to make. In a fictitious country meant to resemble contemporary Italy, the inspector Rogas examines the murders of several high court judges, then experiences political obstruction and is finally assassinated himself by secret service agents. Typical story of "corrupt powers always win!", without anything being explained in the end. Neither is the novel very tense or engaging. I wouldn't read it, it's boring and doesn't bring any new idea.

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