Alessandro Spina

The confines of the shadow

"A narrative fresco that is both remarkably poetic and singularly original." Claudio Magris


The Confines of the Shadow is a sequence of novels and short stories that map the transformation of the Libyan city of Benghazi from a sleepy Ottoman backwater in the 1910s to the second capital of an oil-rich kingdom in the 1960s. Employing a cosmopolitan array of characters, ranging from Ottoman functionaries, to Sanussi aristocrats and Italian officers, Spina chronicles Italy’s colonial experience from the euphoria of conquest – giving us a front row seat to the rise and subsequent fall of Fascism in the aftermath of World War II – to the country’s independence in the 1950s. Spina continues his narrative with the discovery of Libya’s vast oil and gas reserves, which triggered the tumultuous changes that led to Muammar Gaddafi’s forty-two year dictatorship.

Distinguishing themselves by their intimate understanding of East and West, the novels that comprise The Confines of the Shadow are among the most significant achievements of 20th century fiction and stand unchallenged as the only multi-generational epic about the European experience in North Africa. This is the first installment of a three-volume translation, and it includes The Young Maronite, The Marriage of Omar and The Nocturnal Visitor, which are set between 1912 and 1927.

Über die Autorin / über den Autor:

Alessandro Spina (1927–2013) was the pen name of Basili Shafik Khouzam. Born in Benghazi into a family of Syrian Maronites that originally hailed from Aleppo, Syria, Khouzam was educated in Milan and published his first story in Nuovi Argumenti. Following his return to Benghazi in 1954, Khouzam spent the next twenty-five years managing his father's textile factory in Benghazi while continuing to write in his spare time. Khouzam eventually left Libya in 1979 and retired to Franciacorta, Italy. Khouzam was associated with various leading Italian writers of his time, including Alberto Moravia, Giorgio Bassani, Vittorio Sereni, and Claudio Magris and his novels were published by various imprints such as Mondadori and Garzanti. His major opus was The confines of the shadow, a sequence of eleven historical novels and short story collections that chart the history of his native city from the Italo-Turkish War in 1911 to the exploitation of Libya's vast oil reserves in 1964. Although Khouzam individually published each instalment of his epic throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the entire sequence was finally issued as an 1268-page omnibus edition by Morcelliana in 2006 and was then awarded the Bagutta Prize in 2007. His work has been compared to that of Paul Bowles and Albert Cossery.

Preis: CHF 23.40
Sprache: Englisch (aus dem Italienischen von André Naffis-Sahely)
Art: Taschenbuch
Erschienen: 2015 (2006)
Verlag: Darf Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-85077-278-1
Masse: 378 S.