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English Book Review/Collaboration: “Alèxandros, storia senza luce” by Francesco Palma

Recensione in Italiano: QUI.

Hello everyone, today after a period of pause that was longer than I thought from the readings on Alexander, I’m very happy to be able to add this review to my bibliography on Alexander the Great. I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me the copy so that I could review this beautiful novel! Today I’m talking about:

Alèxandros, storia senza luce” by Francesco Palma published by Leonida Edizioni

There are people suffering from xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare skin disease that forces them to live without light and opposite to that of the masses. The novel tells the story of Alèxandros, a Greek boy suffering from xeroderma who, having survived the illness, breaks down the barrier of pain thanks to the love of Cecilia, an Italian girl, also suffering from the same disease. From the two will be born the idea of an unrealizable cultural project and a child, who will unite them forever, even after the death of Cecilia. Left alone, Alèxandros will provide education and well-being to his growing son and when he enters his mother’s past life, he will find something that will awaken his father’s attention to history: the project to put himself on the trail of Alexander the Great’s body that he will lead father and son towards the greatest emotion a man can experience.

4 stars.

Reading time: from 30th to 31st July 2019.

This reading surprised me for several reasons: I discovered this publisher and this author in the best way because it was a beautiful, engaging and exciting reading.

The protagonist is Alèxandros, a boy who lives in Thessalonica and is affected by xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare disease that doesn’t allow him to expose himself to direct sunlight because his body isn’t able to produce the enzymes that fight exposure to ultraviolet rays. Moreover it cannot expose itself to too strong lights and to move and at home must take a series of precautions to prevent more serious damage. Since its birth Alèxandros exchanges the day with the night, so it protects itself involuntarily from the sun’s rays, so the wealthy parents Alexis and Iris take on a nanny, Berenice so that she can be looked after at night. The two immediately bond, thanks to the fact that the child spends most of his waking time with his nanny. Until the life of this already unlucky child is further upset because his parents are lost because of a car accident. Thus Berenice adopts the child and grows it together with his daughter Iris, who lost her father and is about the same age as Alèxandros. We’ll follow the protagonist until he becomes a man, the husband of Cecilia (an Italian girl suffering from the same illness) and the father of a child who will also inherit the passion for Alexander the Great even though he will remain an orphan from birth. In fact, from the premature death of Cecilia, the two will be animated by the need to unravel the mystery of Alexander’s tomb, of which Cecilia herself proposed a new and interesting hypothesis.

The continuous parallelism that the author makes between Alèxandros and Alexander, according to me, is fully successful. Ok, now we all know that when it comes to Alexander I’m not objective, but when a book is discounted or badly written I know and I say that and this isn’t the case. I said, I found many parallels between the two and they are:

  • Berenice can be easily approached to the Olympias: both women have a very deep and protective bond with their child;
  • in the adoptive father Dimitri can be found Philip: both give to their son lessons in life, wisdom, important advice and educate them in sport;
  • Alèxandros is like Alexander even in his search for natural parents: Alexander wanted to be recognized as the son of Zeus/Ammon while Alèxandros wants to rediscover his origins by shedding light on the incident that caused the death of his parents and also the two have the same sense of justice and revenge;
  • the name of the half-sister Clio recalls the Greek muse of history.

Alèxandros, who with the birth of the son of the same name takes the diminutive Alex, and precisely his son Alèxandros have common destinies: to remain orphans from very young and this condition will bind them especially to the remaining affections. The author has studied numismatics and it shows, although I don’t know enough to say if the theories he elaborates are realistic and grounded or not. However I liked it. The final, and with final I mean the very last bit, seemed a bit too fanciful, but it does. But I wanted to learn a little more about Berenice and Dimitri.

A reflection that comes to me spontaneously given the plot but which I won’t reveal to you is: what would Alexander think of our days? In a world of cultural leveling like ours, where everything counts only when it’s shown on social networks, what would an extraordinary mind like yours think? And if someone could really find his soma, would his fame continue to last for another 2,000 years or would it be diminishing?

As usual, HERE you find the quotes of the book 🙂

Here’s the link to the Publisher’s page: HERE

Still a deep thanks to the publisher for sending me this beautiful book in which I hope to have made you curious!

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