Pascali's Island

Жанр: Иностранная литература

"A masterful tale of treachery and duplicity… Spellbinding."-New York Times The year is 1908, the place, a small Greek island in the declining days of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. For twenty years Basil Pascali has spied on the people of his small community and secretly reported on their activities to the authorities in Constantinople. Although his reports are never acknowledged, never acted upon, he has received regular payment for his work. Now he fears that the villagers have found him out and he becomes engulfed in paranoia. In the midst of his panic, a charming Englishman arrives on the island claiming to be an archaeologist, and charms his way into the heart of the woman for whom Pascali pines. A complex game is played out between the two where cunning and betrayal may come to haunt them both. Pascali's Island was made into a feature film starring Ben Kingsley and Helen Mirren. "Darkly ironic… Offers an almost Conradian richness."-The New Yorker "A compelling portrait of a schemer…


The Ruby In Her Navel

Жанр: Иностранная литература

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…