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Il sito ufficiale di Ferdinando Camon

Ferdinando Camon

The Fifth Estate

Translated by John Shepley

The Marlboro Press, USA

Quartet Books, London

The Fifth Estate

In the introduction to the English translation of his first novel, Camon explains that it was to be a "justification not of his own life but of all my peasant people, the fifth estate, which itself has never told its story, one of enormous heroism and age-old resignation". The novel attracted eminent admirers: Pier Paolo Pasolini wanted to write the preface to the Italian edition, Jean-Paul Sartre immediately had it translated into French. Both recognized the novel as a faithful testimony to the lives of ordinary people.
Camon calls his novel the "geography" of the Italian people. It deals with a segment of the population whose customs have remained the same for centuries, unaffected by the cultural and social changes that have revolutionized the rest of Europe. The people do not speak the language of their homeland, but in dialect; they remain transfixed by age-old beliefs, the cult of the dead, departed spirits, fetishism, a "pagan" Catholicism. They have no wish for involvement in the rest of the world, seeking to remain under an oblivious cloud. Ferdinando Camon chronicles the passing in our own time of an ageless civilization, into which he himself was born.
The Fifth Estate is the first part of Ferdinando Camon's trilogy of autobiographical novels, "Ciclo degli ultimi". With it he laid the groundwork for a reputation that has now become worldwide. The trilogy has already appeared in translation in the USA, the former Soviet Union, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Argentina.

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