Conclave by Roberto Pazzi

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THE CONCLAVE, the gathering of the world’s Roman Catholic cardinals at the Vatican in complete isolation and secrecy after the death of the pope in order to elect a new spiritual leader, is the setting for Roberto Pazzi’s latest novel, a magical fable rooted in the realities of today. A week, a month, four months go by and still the cardinals cannot come to a decision. The world outside grows impatient, but time inside the Vatican has another quality: oneiric, suspended, symbolic. The cardinals conspire in secret meetings to advance their absurd political struggles with Kafkaesque determination. Who shall rise to don the vestments and wield the authority of the Holy See? A political activist from Latin America? A black cardinal from sub-Saharan Africa, the Church’s leading growth market? A prominent Palestinian whose election would shake up geopolitics? Or has the time come for an Italian to once again wear the pope’s miter? A series of fantastic events intrudes to upset the conclavists’ opulent comfort, steal their dignity, and undermine their faith. The end result is a work of fabulist fiction of the highest order.

“. . . clearly acknowledges Italo Calvino and others who have made fantasy a vital force in contemporary Italian fiction. None-theless Pazzi is his own writer and a marvelous one, too.”-- The Chicago Tribune
“A dazzling reinvention of history that has all the narrative delights of a fine novella, combined with the hard luminous glow of epic verse.”-- The New York Times
 

About Roberto Pazzi

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Roberto Pazzi's previous novels include Searching for the Emperor, The Princess and the Dragon, and Adrift in Time. He lives in Ferrara, Italy. Oonagh Stransky, a journalist and translator, lives in New York City. Oonagh Stransky, a journalist and translator, lives in New York City.
 
Published March 1, 2003 by Zoland Books. 276 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Along the way, Pazzi (The Princess and the Dragon, etc., not reviewed) gives an overload of information about church ritual and politics, but does offer such entertaining and provocative particulars as infestations of rats, scorpions, cats, and chickens, an African monsignor with purported supern...

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