Lines of Light

Daniele Del Giudice, Author, Daniele Del Gludice, Author, Luigi Fontanella, Translator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $19.95 (154p) ISBN 978-0-15-152420-4
The narrative element in this elegantly modernistic Italian novel is meager in the extreme but deliberately so. Conventional plot and characterization do not interest the writer; modes of perception are of overriding interest. Occupying the foreground is a friendship between two men possessed by sharply contrasting sensibilities. Ira Epstein, a 60-ish, self-exiled German novelist living near Geneva; and Pietro Brahe, a young Italian high-energy physicist working in a nearby experimental station. Friendship isn't the point, nor are the discreetly tender moments between Brahe and Gilda, Epstein's beautiful Swiss assistant. What they perceivewhat and how they seeis the focus. Brahe sees ""lines of light,'' vectors, velocities, a ``conceptual topography,'' mathematical concepts; Epstein, who has abandoned literature to explore new modes of seeing, extrapolates objects from the environment, creating an atmosphere in which people move and construct their identities. Del Giudice's delicate, subtle venture is a finely executed exercise in a theory of the novel. That is its considerable achievement and also its partial undoing. A virtuoso performance in sheer technique, the novel leaves virtually untouched other requirements of narrative art, though it also leaves no doubt that Del Giudice is a greatly gifted writer. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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