by Roger Vailland
“Makes Mario Puzo’s works look rather tame.”- Antonia Fraser
“The Law is an experience I will not easily forget.” – V.S. Naipaul
Now back in print, Roger Vailland’s atmospheric 1957 novel won the Prix Goncourt, and the Knopf edition was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. The grotesque game of the Law, 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-centeredness of the learned aristocrat Don Cesare or even the sinister desires of Matteo Brigante, the controlling godfather.