the timeless Italian novel of the twentieth century

the timeless Italian novel of the twentieth century
the timeless Italian novel of the twentieth century
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Published in 1962 by the politician and writer Bassanifrom which the movie directed by Victor De Sicathe book is set in his hometownFerrara, where he spent most of his youth.

The story is indeed inspired by real eventstied in a double knot at the waist of Silvio Magrinipresident of the Jewish community of Ferrara in the 1930s, and that of his own family. Upper-class Jews, lived in the villa described in the novel, before the arrival of the Second World War led them to a sad fate.

The protagonist of the novel is a I narrator whose identity we are not given to knowbut with which the reader becomes familiar through his words, the leitmotif of the whole story.
At the beginning of the novel we find out a man who in 1957 is on a Sunday outing with friends and, having found himself in front of the tomb of the Finzi-Contini, retraces part of his life lived with them.

With a plunge into the pastwe learn from wealthy Finzi-Contini familywhose progenitor is the professor Ermannowhich with the wife Olga is the parent of Alberto and Micol.
Their villa was populated by a large number of servants, gardeners and farmers, including the faithful Perottihome handyman.

How does the protagonist come into contact with this family? Through the religion. Middle-class Jew, he knows the children of the Finzi-Continis, his peers, only by sight, during Jewish holidays, as forced by the family to a forced isolation which sees them undertake their studies at home.

Only in 1929, when the narrator discovers that he has been sent back to mathematics in the gymnasium, will meet Micol: in desperation and with no intention of going home to face his parents, he finds himself facing the wall that encloses the imposing garden of the Finzi-Continis. there astride, a beautiful thirteen year old girl helps him to climb over and consoles himunleashing in him a strong feeling which, however, fails to crown with a kiss.

You’ll have to wait almost ten years to meet Micòl againwhen – following the enactment of the racial laws – he is removed from the tennis club and welcomed by Alberto and his sister, who include him in their group of friends and allow him to use the tennis court within the confines of their property.
Finally, the narrator has the opportunity to get to know every corner of the imposing villa and spend some time with the girl he is in love with, while making the acquaintance of other characters. Most important of all is Giampiero MalnateMilanese political activist and great friend of Alberto.

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Micòl turns out to be a strong, independent woman, strangely nostalgic for the past and not at all interested in her future. The protagonist brings with him the love he feels for her, but he doesn’t decide to tell her, until the girl suddenly leaves to attend university in Venice, leaving him within the walls of the Finzi-Contini house which he continues to frequent. as if in this way he can maintain a link with the young woman.

On the occasion of Passover, Micòl returns home and the boy rushes to her, kissing her in a burst of enthusiasm, which she however does not reciprocate. From there, their relationship cracks terribly and the protagonist will fall into a spiral of sadness that he will try to fill with evenings in Giampiero’s company, talking about politics and letting himself be persuaded to frequent unsavory places.

Only when he is convinced to put an end to your own illusionswill be able to find the strength to carry on, but War is now upon us.
There deportation towards the concentration camps will perhaps be the sad epilogue?

What is certain is that that i feelings of melancholy and loss dominate the novel as much as the dashed youthful hopes. Yet theloveas it reminds us Cicconettiand the best filter through which to tell a story.
Even the hardest.


The article is in Italian

Tags: timeless Italian twentieth century