Carlo Levi (LAY-vee), a physician and political prisoner, the narrator and protagonist of the story. Kind, contemplative, artistic, and observant, he has a deep compassion for those who are poor, ill, and disadvantaged. A painter by vocation, he would prefer merely to observe without becoming directly involved, but he cannot. His political imprisonment involves being sent to live in a small and remote southern Italian village, where he is watched closely at all times. He records the experiences and the impressions of his sojourn.
Luigi Magalone (lew-EE-gee mah-gah-LOH-neh), the mayor. Smug and self-satisfied, the Fascist mayor enjoys the power and the prestige of his position. He gives orders to the prisoners for the sheer pleasure of seeing his requests enacted and is particularly zealous in the literal and unwavering application of Fascist laws and regulations in his village.
Giulia Venere (jee-EW-leeah veh-NEH-rah), Carlo Levi’s housekeeper. She is a middle-aged woman who is hardworking, unemotional, and strong. She is ignorant but is naturally intelligent and practical. Her life is linked to superstitions and traditions. Despite her natural wisdom and knowledge of life, she firmly believes in...
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