Barry Unsworth – The Ruby In Her Navel

Описание | Скачать книгу | | Бумажная книга | Ошибка | Читать отзывы
Barry Unsworth – The Ruby In Her Navel

If one had the misfortune to be born in the 12th century, then Sicily was the place to be. The Normans had conquered the island, finding it effectively divided in two, inhabited partly by Arabs, partly by Greeks. From the outset, they had given both these communities major responsibility in the government. As well as Latin and Norman French, Greek and Arabic were official languages of the developing state; and when in 1130 that state became a kingdom under Roger II, it was already an example to all Europe of cultural and religious toleration. The chief minister and head of the all-important navy was always a Greek (our word admiral derives through Norman Sicily from the Arab title of emir), while the treasury was entrusted to Arabs, whose mathematics were better than anyone else's.

Roger himself was as unlike a Norman knight as it is possible to be. Brought up in Palermo by an Italian mother in a world of Greek and Muslim tutors, he was a southerner – indeed, an oriental – through and through; and the chapel that he built in the Royal Palace is one of the wonders of the world. The ground plan is that of a western basilica; but the walls are encrusted with Byzantine mosaics as fine as any in existence, while the wooden roof, in the classical Islamic style, would do credit to Cairo or Damascus. Here as nowhere else the Norman achievement is given visual expression.

But of course it was all too good to last. The independent Norman kingdom of Sicily endured only 64 years, ending soon after the death of the last legitimate king, William the Good. But perhaps that kingdom, swallowed up by the Holy Roman Empire, carried within itself the seeds of its own destruction. It was too heterogeneous, too eclectic, too cosmopolitan. It hardly tried – or perhaps it had no time – to develop any natural traditions of its own. And it paid the price.

Here, then, is the tragedy that forms the backdrop to the Booker-longlisted The Ruby in her Navel. Nowadays the story of Norman Sicily is largely and undeservedly forgotten; knowing it and loving it as I do, I picked the book up with some trepidation (which, I may say, was hardly diminished by its appalling title). But I have long admired its author, so I plunged in – and was instantly, and almost literally, transported. Now, it is not easy to transport a reader 1,000 years into the past, into a country and cultural climate 1,000 miles away from his own; I can only say that Unsworth succeeded triumphantly. His hero, born in England of a Norman father but brought to Sicily as a child, tells his story in the first person. It begins with him working as a civil servant in the office of a high-ranking Arab; he is sent on a mission to Calabria, where he meets a troupe of travelling dancers from eastern Anatolia (one of them the owner of the eponymous navel) and where he is accidentally reunited with a childhood sweetheart, now unhappily married. There follows a somewhat picaresque story of love, betrayals and attempted regicide, all of it set against the constant rivalries of Latin and Greek, Christian and Muslim – the latter further exacerbated by the recent catastrophic second crusade.

It is a good story, which holds the attention from start to finish; but its real strength lies in the power of the author's historical imagination. He made me feel what it was actually like to live, work and travel in Norman Sicily. There is no whitewashing; almost all the characters, including the narrator himself, are to a greater or lesser degree unpleasant. But life, one feels, was never dull, if one had the misfortune to be born in the 12th century.

 

Нажимая на ссылку и сохраняя книгу на жесткий диск или любой другой носитель, Вы соглашаетесь с условиями и принимаете на себя всю ответственность за соблюдение авторских прав правообладателя.

Скачать книгу Barry Unsworth – The Ruby In Her Navel (в формате .txt)
Скачать книгу Barry Unsworth – The Ruby In Her Navel (в формате .rtf)
Скачать книгу Barry Unsworth – The Ruby In Her Navel (в формате .fb2)

 
 
 

Новинки библиотеки

Евгения Изюмова - Дорога неровная Дорога неровная 16317 Евгения Изюмова Роман «Дорога неровная» о судьбе нескольких поколений одного русского рода, который практически стал историч... Перейти →
Robert Heinlein - Fanteria dello spazio Fanteria dello spazio 15582 Robert Heinlein Dalle prime invasioni di H. G. Wells, il tema della guerra contro i В«mostriВ» di mondi lontani ГЁ stato spe... Перейти →
Robert Silverberg - Muero por dentro Muero por dentro 8213 Robert Silverberg Muero por dentro es un clГЎsico de referencia y una de las mГЎs inspiradas historias de su autor: en ella ab... Перейти →
Марина Серова - Как в страшной сказке Как в страшной сказке 15769 Марина Серова Повесть М. Серовой «Как в страшной сказке» входит в состав авторского сборника «Млечный путь». Частн... Перейти →
Антуан Экзюпери - Военный летчик Военный летчик 16143 Антуан Экзюпери «Это, конечно, сон. Я в коллеже. Мне пятнадцать лет. Я усердно решаю задачу по геометрии. Облокотившис... Перейти →
Юрий Иванов - Камикадзе. Пилоты-смертники Камикадзе. Пилоты-смертники 16108 Юрий Иванов Книга на богатом фактическом материале раскрывает сложный феномен японского самопожертвования в годы войны н... Перейти →
 

Отзывы читателей

Здесь Вы можете поделиться впечатлениями о прочтенной книге или просмотреть отзывы читателей. Пожалуйста, будьте вежливы и уважайте других пользователей.
Если Вы считаете какой-то отзыв неприемлемым или оскорбительным, Вы можете связаться с администратором через форму для отзыва.



  1. Пока нет ни одного отзыва