21 dic. 2008


Italo Calvino. La speculazione edilizia.. 1963. 138 pp.

I'm almost halfway through this. The title means "real-estate speculation," I guess. Quinto, an inhabitant of the Italian Riviera, is deciding whether to sell part of the family estate to an untrustworthy developer, Caisotti. He goes around talking to people who tell him Caisotti is not to be trusted. There's some dreary social commentary along the way. Eventually, Quinto (the fifth man?) devises a plan to sell to Caisotti but also develop part of his own land himself. Quinto is a communist or ex-communist, with some intellectual friends who want to start a Marxist journal--a poet and a philosopher. Some dreary banter about Marx and Freud ensues.

There is no hint here of the author of Invisible Cities and If on a Winter's Night a Traveler and Castle of the Forked Destinies. (This must be another novelist named "Italo Calvino." ) I sure hope this gets interesting before too long, because so far it's on the duller side. The central conflict of the novel seems to be that developing between Quinto and Caisotti: who will get the best end of the dreary real-estate deal? Maybe a few corpses showing up, Sciascia-style, will enliven the book a bit. I did learn some new words: "battuta" means a joke or witticism.

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