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Sealed in Stone

by Toni Maraini

A short read which is big on ideas and hidden meanings. Set in a sanctuary graveyard and meeting place in Paris during its occupation by the English in the 100 years war, it isolates a slice of time. There's a real sense of chaos, both in the way people behave and the way they think, and massive tension throughout the story. This book is clearly an allegory for how we live now, so savour it slowly to get the whole flavour and meaning from it.

Extract

I'm old, I'm sixty. Life has tried me and exhausted me. How much time do I have to live? Not much. I've added things up and I said 'no' to myself. For me to repent would have been cowardly; to finish a dangerous journey, madness. I'm a notary without papers, a pilgrim always and forever, banished until I die. Every once in a while I feel a deep longing, something deep in my bones that roils my body with grief. But I can't go back. History is long, each has his road to follow, and every once in a while there's a rest stop.
Translated by Arthur Bierman

Parallels

The Abyss by Marguerite Yourcenar
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman
 

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