Thursday, March 10, 2011

La Luna e i falo Cesare Pavese

Anguilla the narrator of La Luna e i Falo (which translates as The Moon and the Bonfires) had grown up in a village in the Langhe area of Italy, but after his military service in Genoa had had to flee to the USA as he was an opponent of the fascist regime and it was no longer safe for him to remain. This novel is the story of his return to the Italy he had grown up in. He finds everything is the same and everything has changed. The book is a little confusing as it moves between the present in Italy and the past both in Italy and the USA. It's a beautifully written book, which gives the reader plenty to think about in terms of identity and belonging, home and loss.

The scene that stands out for me is where Anguilla is stranded in the desert in the USA, thinking about how little he belongs to that country, and wondering whether he ever will belong. Then when he returns to Italy, so much has changed that he can't feel a real sense of belonging there either.

I read this book in Italian (a useful edition with a long introduction in English and a good glossary). I think some of the subtleties of the novel were lost on me as the constantly shifting time frames would have been confusing in English let alone in Italian!

La Luna e i falo by Cesare Pavese, edited by Doug Thompson and published by Manchester University Press.

For the Italy in Books Reading Challenge

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