Monday, 5 August 2013

The Parrots by Filippo Bologna

This made me smile: an extract from The Parrots by Filippo Bologna (Pushkin Press), which I've just started reading on Kindle:
“I read your last book,” she said. “It was very moving.” Then she added, “There’s something I have to know.” “Go on.” “I’m the main female character, aren’t I?” The Writer smiled without replying. At the beginning of his literary career, every time someone close to him saw themselves in one or other of his characters and demanded an explanation, he would give a reply of an aesthetic and literary nature, to the effect that novels are works of fiction, it’s all a process of casting a critical eye on reality, even in an autobiography the narrator doesn’t exactly correspond to the author, you always start with a real event and transfigure it through your imagination… and so on. Then, as time had passed, he had given up. Not so much because he didn’t find such replies satisfactory (although that was part of it, of course), as because the others found them unsatisfactory. The only thing, the ultimate thing that you could do when someone asked a question like that was to say, “Yes. It’s you.” Even though this could provoke a quarrel or bring a friendship to an end, it was the only possible reply. The only one capable of satisfying that morbid curiosity, that sordid voyeurism, the only truth that people really wanted to hear. For some unknown but human reason, recognizing themselves in a character in a novel made it possible for them to recognize themselves as individuals in the real world. It was like a literary Eucharist that signified their rebirth, their transition to a new life.
Bologna, Filippo (2013-07-04). The Parrots (Kindle Locations 360-372). Pushkin Press. Kindle Edition.

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