The conflict of each of us between being and having to be in Giovanni Grasso's novel


By John

The truth behind appearance, trust in human relationships, the indefinability of love in the ambiguous game of seduction become in the novel «No one sees love» by Giovanni Grasso (Rizzoli) ideas for existential investigation, in the aspects of suffering and torment, capable of upsetting the foundations of identity itself.

Journalist – communication advisor to the President of the Republic -, writer, theater and television author, Grasso takes us into the backstage of the human soul, for a representation of life that stages the story of Federica, a young employee in a house auctions in Milan, accustomed to pressing on the accelerator of life, like that of her car. She will die in a road accident with unclear dynamics, from which, on the initiative of her sister Silvia, a close investigation into her life will unfold, with the focus on the man or men who may have been fascinated by her or possibly blackmailed. The plot immediately presents different reading levels and continuous twists that disrupt certainties and landings, always opening up new horizons. A mystery that winks at the thriller, prompting intense reflections on life, on the relative value of our beliefs, on morality as a religious and life practice, to the point of touching the intimate strings of an aspiration to the absolute, the driving force of action human, suspended between the earthly and the supernatural, in the limbo of the relationship with the self and otherness.

The fulcrum of the story is the weekly meetings in a suburban bar between Silvia, a calm woman devoted to her husband, and Paolo, a mysterious, charming middle-aged gentleman, Federica's former lover. The author explores the conversations between the two on a weekly basis, in the limited space of an hour, as if they were psychotherapy sessions, gradually offering elements of knowledge useful for composing the puzzle of the complex personality of the deceased, but also of the unresolved sides of Silvia and Paolo. A pact of trust is made between them: she will do nothing to find out the man's identity, obtaining in exchange a sincere confession about the love relationship with her sister. A triangle of relationships, therefore, with Federica at the top, and the two characters each intent on defining themselves through her. For both a past of rigor, with precise boundaries on rules and responsibilities, which is counterbalanced by the thirst for experiences of the disappeared, his contempt for mediocrity, the taste for pleasure and luxury, the almost infantile selfishness.

The story of the man, suffered and tormented, brings into play a violent and destructive alternation of eros and thanatos, from which the first fundamental existential doubt takes shape about the human ability to manage invasive passions, those which, like a demon, subjugate the will, keeping the individual on the edge of the abyss, thirsting, like a drug addict, for its poison.

A swing of happy encounters, absences, gifts and punishments seem to outline precise positions of executioner and victim. But is it really like that? Is trust a feeling that can be granted without reservations or must it be calibrated? The narration, frank and without veils, at times takes on the tones of drama, in which guilt and the need for atonement go hand in hand and the levels of the story expand to include the metaphysical, man's relationship with religion, the moral sense of commitment, love as responsibility towards others, beyond pure eroticism.

The author does not give up subtle references to today, to a world that has lost its sense of proportion and social responsibility. And in the epilogue, when the narrative seems to take the path of catharsis, a reading of life as a conflict between being and having to be is proposed: a frantic search for the absolute, in which man is an imperfect copy of something that dominates him, elusive and magnetic together. Like great love.