Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

"Fellinesque" by Andrea Bianchi (Cinnamon, 2013)

In the first section entitled "For Lorenzo's dear audience in the wall" (it's the fourth wall I presume) we're told that "The author is an Italian poet who wrote this novella directly in English". There's also a "Foreword by Harri Pritchard Jones" - "In the body of this work there are acknowledgements to the way memories and suppressed memories, personal and archetypal and suppressed, contribute to the fiction ... We have numerous dialogues between the author-protagonist and Professor Cavallo, an alter ego. But we also rove through Revolutionary France ... There is a wealth of interesting narrative within the web of explorations of the relationship between different concepts of reality ... The book steers clear of being a formal discussion of the nature of reality, at the same time as it introduces the ideas of the French philosopher, Jean Baudrillard". So we know what to expect.

The narrator write "I yearn for a genuinely false reality where I can feel real." (p.14). The Professor Cavallo character says "you force me to stay here, while I would like to be somewhere else, if I had the freedom to choose; at home for example, amongst my books, my pictures" (p.14). Later the narrator says "I am the story, but I also depend on it in part. It writes me, detaching itself from me because it's stronger than me" (p.15). It's hard work being an author when the characters are against you and you're trying to be realistic - "all these trees and meadows and houses make me busy to the point that I haven't been able to make Evelina's hands appear from the sleeves of her old rose blouse" (p.22). Then stranger things happen - "I think others are creating this vision ... They must have put me into their dreams" (p.23-4)

Given this freedom to invent, what does the author come up with? Things like this - "The strangers look like cylindrical batteries with very thin heads, arms and legs. I recognize them as my childhood batteries. I used to play with them everyday. What were their names? Oh yes! Shoe, Suit and Sweat" (p.50).

The characters put on a Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author" for Molière. The narrator realises that "I never meet simple people who are more ignorant than me. Never! Always geniuses or learned men. Or beautiful women that read Plutarch" (p.78). The long chapter 8 was lost on me, but by then I'd been struggling for a while.

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