The Colonial Conquest is the first volume of Alessandro Spina's epic, The Confines of the Shadow, a sequence of novels and short stories that map the transformation of Libya, particularly the coastal city of Benghazi, under the pressure of Italian colonization.
Spina’s literary oeuvre is one of the few non-celebratory accounts of a chapter in Italian history ... Spina’s masterwork is timely commentary ... The way Spina understood the cultural logic of colonialism remains enlightening ... an invaluable source for those interested in tracing the resurgent scourge’s roots.
An unjustly-neglected Libyan novelist captured the twisted logic of colonialism, past and present ... a deep and singular account of the great historical fractures that preceded the establishment of Moammar El-Gadhafi’s Jamahiriya in 1977 ... Spina saves his sympathy for those who wish to force their way into Libyan culture, even as they know their wish to be foolish and culpable ... Spina’s prose itself is theatrical. He can set the stage quickly ... His stories have great beginnings and endings, the curtain snapping open and shut upon dramatic scenes; his characters make memorable entrances ... Spina’s descriptions are sharp and elliptical, but his dialogue can belabor the point ... For hundreds of pages, time stands still.
The English-language publication of Alessandro Spina’s grand, historical novel about twentieth-century Benghazi is a welcome antidote ... Spina’s colorful tales of unrequited love, betrayal, and revenge spring from a cacophony of diverse voices.