The constant ambiguity of the relationship between parents and children, the passion for dancing and the spiral of gambling in the new book that comes out on Tuesday 27 September for Einaudi
A few pages are enough to realize that Have it allthe new book by Marco Missiroli, by structure, by tone, by its intimate tension, does not immediately come from within Obscene acts in a private place e I trusted, but really new. Of course, those who later study this author’s work well will find all the necessary connections starting from the first proofs (Without tail, The darkness on him, Bianco, The sense of the elephant). Just apply and the links are found always, nothing comes from nothing, even in literature. But the loyal reader of now reads and thinks immediately: in this story that combines in a very exciting way the pleasure of dancing, the seductive game of cards and the torment of illness and death, there is something that displaces me.
Not a rare case. It may happen that a writer with a physiognomy being defined thanks to books of increasing success, comes across at a certain point a raw material which, even if not – or does not seem to be – consistent with his profile as an author, asks him to be worked urgently. Matter can have the most varied origins. , I know, a story that we overheard on the subway. a private pleasure, or a wound that doesn’t heal. an image that you set up by reading other people’s books. new stuff, never told. But whatever the case may be, that insistent ruffled skein stops in the corner of her head – a crowd of images, sounds, half-articulated sentences that take time to become well-written – and she doesn’t go away, bothers us, tempts us. What do I do – we think – do I work on it or don’t I work on it? And if I work on it, will I be the one to reduce it to myself – to this self-author development – or will it be she who will reduce me to myself, messing me up with who knows what consequences?
That must have happened in Missiroli. What to do, try to write? The materials of Have it all (Einaudi) do not contemplate the backgrounds of the latest books. There is a lot of Rimini, however. And the sea slime, the Garbino, the vegetable garden, the farm, the railway after-work, the small business of the America bar, the dance hall, steps and jumps of the dance, the game tables, the cards. But most of all: a son I narrate, a mother who died recently, a father who resists by withering, the effect of their shadows. If you have been writing for a long time and have acquired a bit of skill, you can try to catch the right thread and, at worst, give shape to a good little story. Here for more happens. The urge to go further is felt. And a magical moment also for the reader to hear on each page that the author has succeeded. He took the opportunity for a bold dancer leap, he did more and better.
Do more and better. the torment of every true writer, the twenty-year-old Kafka of a very famous letter (1903) to his friend Oscar Pollack put him in focus. Of that text, Kafka’s definition of the function of great works is strange: A book must be an ax to break the sea of ice that lies within us. Less attention is generally paid to the sentences preceding that definition. Good God – writes Kafka – we would be happy even if we did not have books, and those books that make us happy we could, strictly speaking, write them ourselves. But what we need are those books that fall upon us like bad luck, that deeply disturb us like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, like a suicide. Today our literature seems to be at the stage in which, strictly speaking, every month it is possible to publish, to send to the bookstore, a lot of books that make us happy. It may seem arrogant – even in Kafka it sounds a bit arrogant, it’s not easy to write books that make you happy – but that’s it: the market works, publishing lives on despite the increase in paper, the authors conquer a small or even large audience and they found their own personal model of happy book which they pass off, often in conflict with other rival models, as universal. Yet even the most satisfied of writers cannot help but dream of one day stumbling upon his ax-book. Dreaming, precisely, because that difficult leap. And the good quality of the raw materials that touch our lot is of little use, even the skill with which we refine them is of little use. Rather, we must deal with our prudence that pushes us to do and redo the things we have learned to do and that the public and / or critics have rewarded. So other possibilities frighten us, and what is perhaps decisive is a little imprudence.
Missiroli always seemed to me an imprudent writer, that is to say one who looks beyond, leaning out as far as possible from some self. With this Have it all he leaves Paris, frequents Milan very little, returns to his Rimini. Here he exhumes the local dialect and makes it – transcribing segments but above all injecting its tonality into Italian – the cadenced, chanting voice of Sandro, the self he tells. L’italorimine del important narrator. Without that voice, his mother Caterina, his father Nando, his women – Giulia and Bibi -, his longtime friends, the belzeb Bruni, the beautiful heap of stickers shot up quickly, would not have been so engaging.
But the verbal richness of the book does not end here. The world of the father and partly of the mother – a generation still in the balance between the city and the countryside, between clerical work and peasant labor – built with the lexicon of garden and farm care, with that of dance halls and dance, the absolute passion of Nando and Caterina. The events of their existence – those where even the enjoyment of dance disciplines, hard training, humiliation and redemption – are well planted in those words. Which for Sandro I am a find, a vocabulary of childhood and adolescence, a verb of the past tense that needs to be recovered in the contact-contrast with parents or their ghosts. His present language, on the other hand, is marked by the lexicon of gambling. What counts for him is the breakthrough of the winning idea in his haphazard job as an advertising, the insistent dream of a million euros rained down from heaven and who knows what you do with it, the competent jargon of the gaming tables, the accidentality of the gift, that is to say a feeling for the right bet, for good cards. Between generations there is always a tear, which first seems like a liberation and then becomes a melancholy, a pain, a guilt, a different language.
This double Italian wears her Have it all, constitutes the invention which shapes it and advances it. The two levels come together, collide, but remain painfully divergent. We notice this in the narrated parts, made up of fragments mounted non-chronologically, mimicking the occasional nature of memories. These are segments of Nando’s life who cannot resist dance halls even after Caterina’s death. They are flash scenes of the defeats and victories of the two spouses, amateur dancers, anxious parents. But they are also, in alternating editing, the story of how the vice of gambling was born in Sandro and how it is strengthened by drawing on the family savings, and how he wastes himself in compressed rages, sadistic impulses even in the metaphors with which he records the contact. with cards and more.
But the best of this meeting, pushing, opening and closing, in the dialogues. They are broken and scorned jokes, on the verge of communication, which often use irony to avoid outright confrontation. There the reader feels strongly the affection between father and son, the intense bond with the mother, the collision with death that took the second away and soon the first one will take away. But at the same time, in the same exchange, he feels bad feelings, apprehension, pain, rebellion, the unspoken to avoid conflict. Really well done. The dialogues explode in splinters of stylized yet surprisingly true language. At each joke, the ambiguous life swerves, often taking your breath away. Even when it comes to parents and children and great love, really getting close to each other, trying to get out of our structural, organic solitude, seems almost impossible. A deck of cards can be a family recreation and a self-destructive vice; a dance step can be a small couple’s pleasure and the perfect form of existence. In the end, only the unbearable – witnessing the suffering of those we love as life leaves them – that allows us the effort to take our life out of waste.
Missiroli makes powerful use of her experience, her imagination, the novels she loved, and puts before our eyes a very concentrated, moving and moving book, where life – even in its most common incarnations – overflows, does not get stuck in figuration. successful n he lets himself be humiliated by the figure of failure, but it swings unstoppable between pure joy and pain, between error and repentance. Let’s read it and experience its effect on the lake of ice that we carry inside.
The debut in 2005 then the Strega Giovani and the series for Netflix
The writer Marco Missiroli (Rimini, 1981) made his debut in fiction in 2005 with Without tail (published by Fanucci, re-edited by Feltrinelli in 2017), with which he won the Campiello Opera prima Prize; they followed The darkness on him (Guanda, 2007), Bianco (Guanda, 2009; Einaudi 2022), The sense of the elephant (Guanda, 2012). Before the new novel Have it allwhich will come out of Einaudi on 27 September and whose incipit we anticipate here on the side, Missiroli has published Obscene acts in a private place (Feltrinelli, 2015), with whom he obtained the SuperMondello in 2015, and I trusted (Einaudi, 2019), with which he won the Strega Giovani Prize in 2019 and entered the five; the book also became a TV series for Netflix. With her stories he participated in anthologies Twelve steps, edited by Chiara Belliti and Pierfrancesco Pacoda (Cairo publisher) e Smash, curated by Sandro Veronesi (La nave di Teseo); he published the collection Scusate tutti da Guanda, in 2014. For many years he has collaborated with the Corriere della Sera and with La Lettura with interventions, reviews, stories and interviews.
Missiroli will present the book on Tuesday 27 September in Rimini, at 9 pm, at the Amintore Galli Theater, with Giorgio Fontana, readings by Massimo Nicolini; Sunday 2 October in Milan, 5.30 pm, at the Feltrinelli in Piazza Piemonte, with Daria Bignardi and Vittorio Lingiardi; and on the 6th in Turin, at 9 pm, at the Circolo dei readers, with Paola Gallo and Federica Manzon.
September 24, 2022 (change September 24, 2022 | 15:39)