The Conformist by Alberto Moravia

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Secrecy and Silence are second nature to Marcello Clerici, the hero of The Conformist, a book which made Alberto Moravia one of the world's most read postwar writers. Clerici is a man with everything under control - a wife who loves him, colleagues who respect him, the hidden power that comes with his secret work for the Italian political police during the Mussolini years. But then he is assigned to kill his former professor, now in exile, to demonstrate his loyalty to the Fascist state, and falls in love with a strange, compelling woman; his life is torn open - and with it the corrupt heart of Fascism. Moravia equates the rise of Italian Fascism with the psychological needs of his protagonist for whom conformity becomes an obsession in a life that has included parental neglect, an oddly self-conscious desire to engage in cruel acts, and a type of male beauty which, to Clerici's great distress, other men find attractive.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Alberto Moravia

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Alberto Moravia was born in Rome in 1907 and published his first novel at 21. In the 1930s, censored by Mussolini and the Vatican alike, Moravia resorted to writing under a pseudonym. During the war Moravia and his wife Elsa Morante lived in hiding in the mountains south of Rome until the liberation. Among his fourteen novels translated into English are The Conformist, Two Women, and The Time of Indifference. He died in 1990.
Published September 27, 2011 by Steerforth. 340 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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This is probably Moravia's most ambitious work, his most adult, but it lacks the touch of eroticism which proved passport to popularity in his earlier Woman of Rome, etc. This is a penetrating study of the creation of a fascist official in seccret service, from his early unhappy home, and the unc...

Nov 02 1951 | Read Full Review of The Conformist

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