Fontamara was written in Switzerland, where it was published in 1933 because it was not possible to publish the novel in Italy, the author's homeland, as it had become a facist dictatorship that ruthlessly persecuted all those who dared to protest and resist.
The year prior, the author's brother, Romolo, had died due to the abuse he suffered at the hands of the facist authorities when he was arrested in 1928 and imprisoned.
Fontamara is the story about the poor peasants living on the hills of Rome, who feel increasingly constrained by the rich, whom the authorities always support.
When the poverty can hardly get any worse, the rich suddenly lay claims to the vitally important water. The peasants do their best to protest, and the authorities do not respond kindly.
The portrayal of these distressed people is ruthless, but also vibrant and humorous, and full of great affection, which led to the book receiving global attention and it is said to be the best Italian novel, which has been published in the most editions all around the world.
The novel retains great public interest today because it depicts the nature of the Italian facist dictatorship with such depth and detail that it remails fully exposed; a dictatorship that did not take into consideration the property, lives and well-being of its people.
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