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Mania.

Daniele del Giudice. Turin. Einaudi. 1997. 127 pages. L.24,000. ISBN 88-06-13883-9.

The author of four novels characterized by reflection rather than action, Daniele del Giudice offers us six stories which on the surface point to a different direction. With the exception of the last of the six, all the stories in one form or another touch on death. Thus in "L'orecchio assoluto" the narrator eventually kills a young man. In "Evil Live," "Dillon Bay," and "La fuga" one of the main characters is killed, whereas in "Com'e adesso" the dead person is eventually exhumed to be shown on TV.

Superficially, one would get the impression that we are dealing with murder mysteries. That could not be farther from the truth, however, for the stories are rich in meaning and narrative structure and present an intellectually challenging reality. The murder in "L'orecchio assoluto" may not have been a murder at all; the death may have been an accident. Throughout, the author stresses the protagonist's obsession with a certain music, which leads him to the composer who ends up being the victim.

The narrative structures of "Com'e adesso" and "Evil Live" dominate both stories. In the former the narrator visits a TV executive with a proposal to show the putrefied body of a famous opera singer on air. The dialogue between the two characters as well as the exchange between the son of the dead star and another individual constitute the plot. Thus Del Giudice shows us a story within a story, until everything is brought together by the revelation that the deceased famous person is the executive's father.

In "Evil Live" the narrative structure likewise emerges through a collaboration. In this case Del Giudice uses e-mail communication to recount the tale of a sadomasochistic duel between two women. The story can end at any time with the click of a few buttons, if one of the two writers (who do not know each other) so decides.

Present and past dominate several of the selections. In "Dillon Bay" the quasi-military precision of the narration effectively gives the reader the feeling of modern war maneuvers. Still, the colonel's life is brought to an end by an echo of the past - a stray bullet. Present and past also blend in "Fuga," where a scugnizzu is pursued by a mafioso for having attempted to steal a motorcycle. The two end up in a "dead cemetery" from the previous century, where the pursuer finds his death.

The stories of Mania are rich in ideas, and although there is plenty of action, it is easy to see the connection with Daniele del Giudice's past "reflective" novels.

Domenico Maceri Allan Hancock College
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Author:Maceri, Domenico
Publication:World Literature Today
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1998
Words:446
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