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If the novel is born from God’s laughter

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If the novel is born from God’s laughter

Between mysticism and erotomania

Between mysticism and erotomania, scriptural misinterpretations (the verse of Isaiah according to which the redeemer had to be “sinner and mortal”) and methodical infractions of the Torah, doctrinal disputes and adventures of all kinds, Frank is a slippery, elusive subject, the Stranger par excellence, itself a symbol of a conception of literature as the “perfection of imprecise forms”.

The double view

In individual solitude one comes to experience life, to “the approval of life even within death”, as Bataille claimed and as Fosse represents in the interior monologue of the humble Norwegian fisherman Johannes, in Morning and Evening. And it means contesting one’s own models as much as being able to finally give up the safety of one’s own limits. This is also Roberto Pazzi’s testament in The Double View (La nave di Teseo, pages 208, €19.00), his last novel published posthumously. After the prologue in which the writer conceives the unspeakable desire of the angels to aspire to the immortality of the flesh, envious of human beings to whom the Lord would dedicate excessive attention, the book is divided into three parts, three moments of the same truth. When in The Frivolity of the Dying, the first, the white-haired protagonist loses his points of reference and doesn’t even remember his name, the paper creatures, the characters from his novels, come to his aid. From the start, Pazzi relies on the blank page to stigmatize, and little by little exorcise, the fear that is greater than himself: losing the identity that is based on memory once perpetual night has fallen. He therefore transforms himself into the Eternal Father, seized by the desire to humanize himself, to find himself in the role of Ludwig of Bavaria, Wagner’s patron, arrested for dementia and incarcerated in Berg Castle. In a sort of Dantesque descent without frills, the narrator takes on the appearance of Lucifer, who in turn transforms into a succession of faces of evil, of tyrannical figures who have marked history: the pharaohs, Nero, Attila, Hitler and Stalin. And with the intermediation of Bernardo, helmsman of the ship that will take him to Damietta from the Sultan, he then tries to acquire the holy madness of Francis of Assisi, on his way to build peace with the Muslims. Afflicted by a current situation full of unknowns and pain, in which the balance of Western power has been undermined, making possible the approach, according to the Holy Scriptures, of the so-called “abomination of desolation”, the writer has only prayer, the same which Dostoevsky defined as “an ascension of the intellect”.

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The art of the novel, republished by Adelphi, trans. by Ena Marchi, pages. 168, €12.00
Books of Jakub, trans. by Ludmila Ryba and Barbara Delfino, Bompiani, pages. 1120, €29.00

The double view, The ship of Theseus, pages. 208, €19.00


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