Christ stopped at Eboli, down on the coast, up the in the hills the world remains pre-Christian. This is the author’s account of life in one of those hill villages while in internal exile under the fascists. Levi presents most of the villagers as being so isolated from the mainstream of Italian culture that they have a pre-christian or pagan mentality or weltanschauung. For example at Christmas the poor people give presents to the rich – unlike in the Bible story were the Kings give presents to the carpenter’s son – hence the title of the book

Christ Stopped at Eboli

He comes to see these people as the aboriginal inhabitants of Italy crushed down by the weight by a series of alien regimes from the Romans onwards to the modern Italian state who impose themselves upon the these farmers who live in material poverty, at the same time some villagers escape to America where, whenever they can they get together and go out to the countryside and round a quiet tree have a good shit just like they did at home.

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