The Iguana

Anna M. Ortese, Author, Henry Martin, Translator McPherson $14.95 (198p) ISBN 978-0-914232-87-2
First published in Italy over 20 years ago and considered to be one of that country's important post-war novels, this narrative is a complex fabrication. Count Aleardo di Grees, a Milanese nobleman known to all as Daddo, is on a dilettantish voyage southward in search of investment possibilities when he stumbles on a tiny uncharted island off the coast of Portugal. On Ocana he shares the bleak hospitality of the ruling family, the Guzmans, who bespeak a sad history. Daddo is offended by their cruel treatment of a serving creature who at first appears to be an old woman but is actually a young iguana. Daddo's obsession with the creature ends in delusion, derangement and, finally, death. Filled with elements that may be political satire or the interplay of evil and good, with time dislocations and delusional subplots, the novel makes heavy demands on the reader, who is often directly addressed in the narrative. Still, Ortese has won virtually every major Italian literary prize. (October 23)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
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