Among the many things lost are all our “selves”. The new book by the Cosenza writer Giuseppe Aloe


By John

«The things we have lost we have lost forever, even objects, even the watch you find behind the drawer after a month is not the same watch as a month ago. Because the old things are finished and if they are finished they no longer exist.” This is how he writes the narrator of «The things from before» (Little tap) by Giuseppe Aloea surprising story that can be a deception of the ego or remain confined to the dreamlike dimension that frequently returns in the stories of writer from Cosenzahere in his seventh novel (and finalist at the Strega 2012 with «The logic of desire»).

And regardless of whether things happen or not, we cannot escape the fiction, it is time itself that disseminates a good amount of fiction in our lives and, if you think about it, there is not that big a difference between narrative fiction and reality… What Martin, a philosophy professor who lives alone in an ancient house “with powerful walls” in the old part of a “remote city full of streets that lead nowhere” (the new part remains beyond the bridge) has lost that divides them), is an exact period of her adolescence, secure in the “splendid invariability” of her little life between solitude and everyday life at school and at home. But from one day to the next that foolish age is interrupted by new events, habits taken away, the things of adolescence stolen. And the thirteen-year-old Martin, as the adult Martin tells his cheerful colleague Annette, in that theft he suffered finds himself lost as if in a labyrinth, the same as the streets he took to return home: «A labyrinth of streets and confusion that only with great efforts you manage to overcome and return home by following other paths, other procedures, resulting intuitions”.

And Martin’s story is also labyrinthine because “we are used to our labyrinths and our thoughts are also labyrinthine”. What he recalls by writing, while Annette reads it at the same time, is a family tragedy that goes beyond imagination, the evil that erupts without logic and without apparent warnings. Then the years passed, and things «left their shadow on the beds and in the air of the rooms, but they ended, they took on a great wave that took them where there is no longer any sky».
In Martin’s company remains Janelle, a praying mantis, an animal-totem of destiny, a “restless miracle” guarding the house, who seems to be waiting like him for “an event, a cataclysm, a place to imagine a new story, a story without executioners, without comparison, something that belongs to me because I have not experienced it, but which I miraculously know.”

But she too disappears forever and perhaps what Martin is waiting for is “another me, another person”, while Annette, who has now reached the end of reading this story, imposes herself with her liveliness.
A writing of cultured quotations that of Aloe, with suspended atmospheres and ghosts that migrate from one book to another, a writing inhabited by restless characters, divided between the land of the dead and the land of the living, marked by uncertainties and shadows: all enhanced by the dry and crude narrative geometry of the short chapters, all of the same length condensed into just over two pages. A profound, exquisitely literary reflection on the impalpable substance of which we are made. Time, and words.