Alamut Paperback – Nov 20 2007
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“If Osama bin Laden did not exist, Vladimir Bartol would have invented him.”—L’Express“...an epic novel of conspiracies, love stories, and subtle religious and philosophical subtexts that bravely confronts the issue of political extremism.”—Ricardo Arturo Ríos Torres, La Prensa“...an adventure story from 1938 which transforms itself ... into a nightmare novel of the new century.”—Oliver Maison, Journal de la Culture"This new edition of Alamut is gorgeous...a fascinating historical drama that triumphs in its exploration of modern themes."—The Midwest Book Review
About the Author
Vladimir Bartol (1903-1967) was a Slovene intellect and journalist living in the Trieste region of Italy prior to World War II. An early follower of Jung and Freud, and Slovenia's first translator of Nietzsche, Bartol wanted to fuse psychology and literature to with the story of the world's first terrorist to tell the story of Mussolini. Bartol's view of Mussolini was ambiguous; he originally wanted to dedicate Alamut to the dictator, but was convinced otherwise by his publisher. Bartol spent nearly a decade writing Alamut, which was the first book of a projected trilogy. He went on to write several minor works, short stories and plays, but never wrote another novel. He died in 1967.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The easy comparison would be to Osama bin Laden and terrorists and Iraq and so forth. But I read "Alamut" as a heart-breaking coming of age novel. A girl and boy, barely in puberty, are taken in by a "movement" (cult/army/regligion?) that they quickly become attached to. But when their eyes are lifted to the truth, they are changed forever. Alamut's leader -- a mix of madness and genius -- offers a couple of longwinded, but fascinating, monologues on the meaning of life, but the real meaning in the book is found in the fates of the girl and boy.
This book isn't perfect. It has a strange outdated "puritan" feel to it at times, especially with the sexual (lesbian/hetero) scenes, but it also has the feel of a classic. Meaning, that in 20 years it will still be in print and will be much more widely known than today. This book will be relevant for many, many years regardless of the political situation. From Illinois, a 5 stars.