• The Law Front Cover-CMYK


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The grotesque game of The Law by Roger Vailland, played in the taverns of southern Italy, is but a shadow of an even fiercer attitude to life; a potent metaphor for a vigorously hierarchical view of existence which rules over the mezzogiorno, the noonday culture of southern Italy.

In this novel we are not asked to pardon or condemn the passion of Donna Lucrezia, the assured self centredness of the learned aristocrat Don Cesare or even the sinister desires of Matteo Brigante, the controlling godfather. We are asked merely to observe. In this sense The Law seems less a work of pure fiction and more a series of shrewdly noted travel sketches.

The Law by Roger Vailland

ISBN: 978-0907871-11-8

Format: 264pp demi pb

Place: Southern Italy

Thirty-three years ago, John Hatt set up as a publisher creating ELAND BOOKS, a company born at south London. John Hatt’s Eland was the first of a wave of travel lists that emerged in the early 1980s, quickly joined by Century Travellers, the Penguin Classic Travel Library, Picador and Virago. You wouldn’t have wanted to put any money on it, but only the Eland list has endured. Nowadays, E-editions enable our books to be read in parts of the world where bookshops do not exist, but otherwise Eland continues, very much as it first started, with between two and eight new titles a year, and run from an attic. It is a classic tale of the Hare and the Tortoise, or should one say the Leopard and the Eland. For one of the defining characteristics of the Eland is that it is no good at high speeds but ‘can trot along at fourteen miles an hour indefinitely.’  

‘One feels one knows everyone in the district … every page has the texture of living flesh.’ – New York Herald Tribune

‘One is horrified by this novel but never bored.’ – Sunday Times

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SKU: 978-0907871-11-8 Categories: , ,