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After Hannibal

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In the small Italian town of Umbria, a British couple feud with greedy local peasants; two gay Italian lovers head toward an acrimonious split; a German wrestles with guilt over his Nazi father; an Italian historian reels from his wife’s departure; and two sweet elderly Americans are bilked by a British ”buildings expert.” Almost all of them consult with a drolly philosophical lawyer named Mancini, who is far more interested in justice than mere legalities. Their relationships, like the buildings that fascinate the historian, are in various stages of disrepair, and few of them have foundations strong enough to withstand the seismic jolts delivered. After Hannibal is marred only by Unsworth’s reserve — apt for his previous historical fiction, but too dispassionate here.

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