In what amounts to a cantata, the narrators evaporate, leaving behind brief tales that establish the tellers' existences by recording their inability to overcome alienation and despair. Celati, an Italian, adopts a deceptively simple style in both his language and structure to weave angst into the stuff of myth: his generous, panoramic vision imparts a fable-like quality to what might otherwise have been merely a string of absurd sketches. Across his pages flit children oppressed by ennui; a scholar who rewrites classic works in order to supply each with a happy ending; a multigenerational trio that uses encephalographs to pinpoint just what ``makes the world go on''; a barber who looks for tangible proof of his `` 'sistence.'' Many of the disembodied ``voices'' here have been undone by the inadequacies of language--a trendy theme that Celati develops imaginatively and integrates with delicacy. This English-language debut merits serious attention--and applause. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990 Release date: 01/01/1990 Genre: Fiction
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