The Invisible Player

Giuseppe Pontiggia, Author, Annapaola Cancogni, Translator, Anna Cancogni, Translator Eridanos Press $14 (259p) ISBN 978-0-941419-15-4
Against a stylized backdrop of narrow alleys, dark vestibules and winding staircases, this novel, the author's American debut, focuses on a nameless professor who is attacked in a letter to the editor published in an academic journal and who becomes obsessed with discovering its anonymous writer. During the course of his investigation he comes into contact with various figures in academia who constitute an insular and nepotistic society. The professor's encounters with these colleagues deliver the novel's best satiric moments. But his quest to unmask the critic becomes tediously protracted and readers will find it difficult to muster empathy for him. The book's effect is best expressed in a metaphor from its pages: it is like ``a hysterical pregnancy,'' eventually revealing a ``truth that bursts forth in a sudden and complete release of air.'' In the novel's ambiguous ending, the letter writer's identity is not absolutely disclosed, and the professor's only revenge is a weak rebuttal. All this makes for an earnest performance rather than an enthralling story. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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