Title: Fontamara

Author: Inaccio Silone

Translator: Manouchehr Atashi

Publisher: Scientific and Cultural Publishing Company

Subject: Italian stories

Age category: Adult

Number of pages: 246

Language: Farsi

Categories: ,


Introducing the book Fontamara by Inaccio Silone
Fontamara is a bitter but very important novel by the Italian author, Ignacio Silone, in which he examines the life of the people of a village called Fontamara. Ceylon’s novels are worth reading, and we at Cafebook put Fontamara on the Cafebook book list. The book Bread and Wine and The Book of Seeds Under the Snow are other books by Ignacio Silone that we strongly suggest you read.

Silone had a difficult childhood and grew up in poverty. He lost his parents and five brothers in the 1915 earthquake. After graduating, he became a socialist and in 1921 was one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party. From 1921 to 1931 he was one of the organizers of secret anti-fascist activities. He lived in Moscow for some time and settled in Switzerland after being expelled from the Italian Communist Party in 1930. In Switzerland, Ceylon continued his anti-fascist activities and his secret struggle against Mussolini’s dictatorial regime. Fontamara’s novel is also a full-fledged anti-fascist book.

Fontamara novel
Perhaps the best and shortest introduction to Fontamara’s book is the writing on the back cover:

“Fontamara is a profound account of the life of fascist Italian peasants. In this story, the depth of the misery of the people who are captured by three ruthless enemies is imagined: extreme poverty, deep lack of knowledge and a corrupt and ruthless dictatorial system. “Human beings’ innocent efforts to change their destiny with Ceylon’s sharp narrative and powerful pen lead us to a profound effect and contemplation on inappropriate and inhuman social relations.”
Fontamara is the story of simple, innocent people who can be said to have almost nothing, and life has put pressure on them from all sides. The story of the book is told by the members of a family who refer to all the existing pains. The simplicity and poverty of the people of this village have no limits and there is no end to the extent of the government’s abuse of them. The people of this village are probably the poorest people in the literature. It can even be said that their situation is worse than the people in the story of clusters of anger.

In part of the book we read:
The dark story of the people of Fontamara is the arduous and monotonous path of the hungry and unsuccessful peasants who, from generation to generation, have sweated on a small piece of land and infertility. (Fontamara Book – Page 12)

The story of the book and the beginning of the problems of the village of Fontamara begins with a power outage. In a village where the agricultural situation is at an all-time low and people have no income for most months of the year, electricity is not provided. So the power went out and people got used to the moonlight again, which was their only night light. But power outages can be considered the simplest and most superficial problem of these people.
Gradually, the government’s pressure increased, and they even attacked the water, which is the only source of prosperity for the agricultural lands, and took full advantage of the ignorance of the people. The government has achieved all its demands with a simple nut called Doncheir Kostantsa, who introduced himself as a friend of the people. A nut that’s apparently friendly to people and acts in their favor in every decision. He shakes hands with people and sometimes even hugs them, which is an important and worthy event, because the authorities do not even approach the people of Fontamara.

Donucher Constanta gains people’s trust with hypocrisy and empty promises, but in the end, with a few words, he fills people’s heads with juice. For example, in a part of the story between the villagers and the new mayor, who is very ruthless and intends to take the people’s lands from them, there is a problem over the water quota.

The people are defending the water that makes their lands prosperous, and the new mayor is forced to retreat, apparently respecting the will of the people. It is decided that the mayor will speak to the people’s representative. Donchir Kostantsa, who is known as a friend of the people, returns to the people during negotiations that none of the villagers understand, arguing that: one quarter of the water goes to the mayor and the other quarter to Fontamara.
The “friend of the people” tells them that the deal is in their favor, and that the villagers, who are literate enough to sign and write their names, accept the contract and return home satisfied. On the day of the water division, three quarts of water flows to the mayor’s lands and a small part remains in the village stream; Only then will the villagers realize that nothing can be divided into two equal parts of a square.

In addition to the great oppression of the villagers, there is also an uprising. In some cases, people shake their heads and protest, and even in some parts of the book, women in the village rush to the mayor’s house to seek their rights. One of the more intelligent villagers makes efforts to inform the people and bring them out from under the burden of oppression, but the situation is worse than a collective movement.

Donucher Constanta, who is known as a friend of the people and, as he himself repeatedly reminded, has a special place in his heart for Fontamara, is one of the most important obstacles in front of the people. His law office accepts the legal claims of the people and he does all the work and of course he has the duty to destroy the people. Of course, people’s problems are more than that, and by reading the book, he realizes how much the lack of something called cooperation and empathy between people can make the situation worse.
This novel is 196 pages, but many, very important lessons can be learned from it. Silone’s pen literally attracts you and the reader can not easily leave the book. The story of the poverty and misery of the people is by no means a cliché, and the people’s efforts for liberation are narrated in a completely different and attractive way. Finally, with a far-fetched and different ending, the author does something that you will never forget.

Sentences from the text of the book Fontamara
For twenty years, it was the same land, the same rain and snow, the same holy days, the same food, the same nostalgia, the same pain and the same poverty. The poverty that came from the fathers and they also inherited from the grandfathers. The result is that hard and honorable work has never cured pain. The most vicious injustices lived so long there that they found their place among natural phenomena such as wind, rain, and snow. (Fontamara’s novel – page 9)

It is a shame that one laughs at the misery of the people. (Fontamara novel – page 37)

You are a slave! Making you suffer! (Fontamara novel – page 41)

Every woman in Fontamara would warn her husband: Be your own boss, do not trap yourself, do not ruin your own family, let others get in trouble. (Fontamara novel – page 65)
General Baldisra was very poor, arguably Fontamara’s poorest man, but he did not want anyone to know, and he resorted to all sorts of tricks to satisfy his hunger, which had gripped him for many years. Among many other things, one was that on Sundays he would leave the house with strange excuses, and when he returned in the evening, he would be awake and hungry as usual, but he would stagger lightly, holding a toothpick in his mouth to show that He has eaten a lot of meat and alcohol and has been able to cope with his whims. (Fontamara novel – page 67)

When a new government comes to power, a poor peasant can do nothing but say, “Maybe God will send us a good government!” Just like when there are many clouds on the horizon in summer and it is not the job of the peasants to say it is raining or hail, but it is the eternal father who knows. (Fontamara novel – page 95)
The peasants were plowing, leveling the ground, shoveling, reaping, threshing, and when it was all over, a stranger would come and reap all the benefits. Who could object? You could not even protest because everything was legal, only the protest itself was illegal. (Fontamara novel – page 131)

One thing was clear: day by day, new laws were being passed in favor of the owners, but the old laws that were in favor of the subjects were becoming obsolete, and those that were to their detriment remained. (Fontamara novel – page 136)

Each bank was larger than the previous one, and some, like the church, had domes and domes. There were crowds of people and cars around them. Berrado never got tired of admiring these things. I asked, “But these have domes, maybe they are a church!” “Yes, but it’s another god,” replied Brardo with a laugh. The god who really rules the earth is money. And he rules over everyone, even priests like Don Abaccio who talk about the God of heaven. “Now that a new god rules the earth, I wish we were destroyed by believing in the same old god.” (Fontamara novel – page 165)

Learn more about Iniatsio Silone:
This prominent Italian left-wing author and political activist was born in 1900 into poor families. He was only fifteen years old when he lost his parents and five brothers in a major earthquake. Childhood hard experiences may not have been unaffected by his tendency toward idealistic ideologies. However, he joined the Italian Communist Party in 1921 and fought against fascism (which was in full swing in those days), but eventually left the party several years later after traveling to the Soviet Union.

Ignazio Silone was deported to Switzerland in 1930 for his political activities. It was there that many of his literary masterpieces were created. After the start of the war, this exiled writer was able to return to his homeland, and during these days he continued to fight against the corrupt and criminal ruling power.
His writing style is close to the classics in terms of language maturity and superiority of thought. In addition, Ceylon has a brilliant humor that is unmatched by any other writer. He also had a special skill in dialogue writing; Which, of course, made the video an overnight sensation. Among Silone’s most important works are Bread and Wine, Emergency Exit, A Handful of Raspberries, and The School of Dictators.

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2- Introducing the book  in Aparat

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