Carlo Monterosso, "L’odio. Variazioni sul tema"

Documenti Letterari 7, February 1970


A hypothetical rather infernal school group (Argenti, Bonturo, Calcabrina, Ciriatto, Farinata, Ugolino etc.), located in a metaphysical no-man's land, is assigned the development of a theme, or if you prefer, an anonymous but detailed character is proposed, by develop-interpret: «The germ of hatred infected her as a young man and never left her. A life of hate. What became of her?… Analysis, reflections, conclusion. Time, one hour ", The forty-nine developments that Carlo Monterosso puts in the pen of his exceptional scribes form a long variation on hatred, received in its noblest forms, according to the literary canon, and in the most petty or grotesque or parody: revolutionary hatred and sexual hatred, pity and car traffic, insecurity and the unbearable banality of the relationship between two. A whole often extremely subtle and ingenious etiology comes forward which in itself could already satisfy the reader. But, as Gramigna writes in his preface, beyond the values, so to speak of content, there is a parallel formal responsibility in Monterosso, to which the last decision is left: the previous novel had clearly demonstrated this, “The T. ”, Especially in the final chapter of such a brutal and precise linguistic mélange.

The articulation of L'odio cannot therefore be accepted as casual or as a simple gimmick to alter, break down the usual regime of the page: it actually responds to a need that constitutes the point of arrival of reading. The scheme of a "variation on a given theme" undoubtedly introduces a typically non-fictional element and in fact the book, starting from its specious metaphysics and illustration of the first and last causes, is placed at the level of eschatological (and scatological, is added , having regard to the desecrating violence that language gladly assumes). But each of the cells, that is, each of the "developed themes, enter to make up the book" presents itself as a micro-story; which, self-sufficient up to a certain degree, is then integrated into the series, referring to the antecedents and the following ones and receiving in return a particular determination.

Carlo Monterosso

Born in La Spezia in 1921. After living for a long time in London, where he worked for the BBC, he then moved to Rome. His first novel, “The Salt of the Earth”, received as a revelation by the most qualified critics, won the Bonfilio prize and was translated in France, the United States and England. With "The T. case", his second novel, Monterosso set himself on a line of technical and linguistic experimentation that placed him among the newest and most valid storytellers of the 1960s. He also collaborated as a screenwriter with RAI at least until the early 1980s.

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