Men and Not Men

Elio Vittorini, Author Marlboro Press $0 (197p) ISBN 978-0-910395-13-7
When Vittorini died in 1966, his American reputation had faded into obscurity from the relative fame of In Sicily and The Red Carnation. The current work was published in Italy in 1946 in the postwar glory days of neorealismo, with that burst of creative energy that accompanied Italy's liberation from enslavement to Fascism and Nazi occupation. The subject of this only recently translated novel is the underground Resistance movement in Milan in 1944, during the waning days of Mussolini's dictatorship, when the Nazis were already in command. Grimly, against impossible odds, the guerrillas (the ""men'' of the title) have carried the war to the inhuman ``nazifascists'' (the ``not men'') and are willing to sacrifice 10 of their own for one of theirs. The actions are familiar from hundreds of war movies: the sudden blow, the flung grenade, the gunshots ringing out in the night, the dead SS officers and the brutal retribution that leaves bodies strewn in the streets as a warning to others. The protagonist, one of an ``action group'' of Resistance fighters, is a reflective, oddly remote character involved in an unresolved love affair while the deadly actions swirl through the city. Hemingwayesque dialogue and mannerisms seem almost quaint at this far remove, and the novel itself has lost much of its savor. December 18
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
Paperback - 199 pages - 978-0-910395-14-4
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