Thursday, May 19, 2016

That Awful Mess on the Via MerulanaThat Awful Mess on the Via Merulana by Carlo Emilio Gadda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Baroque, ornate, dense, tangled, funny, brilliant unfinished 400-page rant from Carlo Emilio Gadda which
  Carlo Emilio Gadda
thwarts logical conclusions and forces the reader to go along for the ride in the many-layered, stinky, cacaphony of corruption and magic depicted as 1927 Rome. Ostensibly a detective novel, there's a theft, a murder, and a host of descriptions of Mussolini-era Italy including the memorable references to Il Doochay as "Death's Head," or "Fierce Face," or the Shit...the syphilitic Swaggerer." But the investigation is incomplete, derailed like the train in one scene, and the tale ends inconclusively, indeed an inventive "mess."

The book club discussion was lively and mostly enthusiastic. One member, Dani, even produced a fantastic glossary of the book's elaborate vocabulary.
William Weaver's translation was masterful in dealing with Gadda's imaginative vocabulary, made-up words, puns and double-meanings.

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