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The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese

Book cover for The Moon and the Bonfires
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The nameless narrator returns to Italy from California after the Second World War. He has done well in America, but success hasn't taken the edge off his memories of childhood, when he was an orphan living at the mercy of a bitterly poor farmer. He wants to learn what happened in his native village over the long, terrible years of Fascism; perhaps, he even thinks, he will settle down. And yet as he uncovers a secret and savage history from the war—a tale of betrayal and reprisal, sex and death—he finds that the past still haunts the present. The Moon and the Bonfires is a novel of intense lyricism and tragic import, a masterpiece of twentieth-century literature that has been unavailable to American readers for close to fifty years.

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