RETURN TO EGYPT
Original title RITORNO IN EGITTO
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On the background of the decaying Roman Empire, Claudio and Ligdo share an overwhelming love. Yet the Word of Christ condemns their relationship as an “abomination”. The power of Rome is waning. In panic, the citizens behold as the barbarians press against their borders, crime surges, diseases spread and monstrous insects swarm. A series of inexplicable phenomenons seems to give credit to the idea that the end of all time is drawing nigh. In this world in ruins, the message of Christ takes hold more deeply by the day. For the prophet from Nazareth offers humanity both certainties and hope. Yet it also overturns once familiar moral criteria, drastically altering the concepts of good and evil. And so, Claudio and Ligdo find that their relationship, once cherished by the Gods, has now become sinful, depraved – an “abomination”, even. This marks the beginning of a story suspended between rationality and blind faith, full of evocative and disturbing episodes, which proceeds at a high pace towards an unforeseeable ending. The clash between two completely different cultures with incompatible ideas on morality – the classical culture which exalts eros and the christian culture which demonizes it – is highlighted by a literary yet gritty style. The world described in Return to Egypt is far away in the past; yet it also represents the origin of our own civilization. And the themes touched upon in this novel are, needless to say, quite contemporary.
Born in Naples, Giovanna Mozillo has taught literature for many years. In 1977, she has edited the volume Societa` e Cultura nella Campania dal Fascismo alla Repubblica. She later published Le Alghe di Possillipo (1994, 2nd edition 2011), Tempo di cicale (1995), Recita napoletana (1999, winner of the “Naples in the World” award, which also inspired the theater piece Tempo Scaduto, directed by Gea Martire), La signorina e l’amore (2001, finalist at the Elsa Morante award 2002), Lavinia e l’angelo custode (2003), Quell’antico amore (2004), La vita come un gioco (2007, finalist at the Melfi award 2008), Malgrado tu sia altrove (2014). She is the co-author of La guerra e le bambine: sedici nonne raccontano (2014). Mozzillo also writes for the culture pages of various newspapers and magazines, including "Corriere del Mezzogiorno" and "Leggendaria".