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A philosophical novel about life, death and hope in the longest night at Auschwitz.
Can philosophy happen at the gates of a gas chamber? Can people with opposing beliefs have a friendly dialogue about the meaning of life and hope beyond death?
A devastating premise: on the last night of their lives, before they enter the gas chamber, a group of women debate what happens to the soul when we die and the importance of good and evil in life.
Ernesto Castro’s first novel is a gust of fresh air in a world of pamphleteering. Five women meet on what could be their last night: hiding in a barracks in Auschwitz, they confront their beliefs about why life is worth living and about killing. It might seem like just another theoretical debate, but in the concentration camp life and death are not just concepts.
Xanthippe, or On Dying is a conversational novel, a recuperation of dialogue as a philosophical path, and a fiction of ideas about the human condition. It is also the first volume of a trilogy of short texts that explore the three great Platonic concepts: death, freedom and knowledge.
The fiction debut of the most brilliant Spanish thinker of his generation.
“This dialogical philosophical novel or ‘sacra conversazione’ is deserving of a run on the stage. Paraphrasing Heidegger, it conveys the wasteland of Auschwitz through a polyphony around free will, totalitarianism, the soul and death, by the hand of others or one’s own.” ELOY FERNÁNDEZ PORTA
“Xanthippe, or On Dying is an ode to thinking in common. And that is one of Plato’s great legacies. Conversation, the scene of friends who meet and talk, who reflect on what is most painful, what is most inhuman.” LUNA MIGUEL
“I was very impressed by the first novel by the young philosopher Ernesto Castro in which five women converse in an Auschwitz barracks.” JUAN MANUEL DE PRADA
“An ode to philosophy. Xanthippe, or On Dying has reminded me of the reasons why philosophy makes me happy.” ALICIA VALDÉS