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Friday, 24 April 2009


Marsilio Editore ,2008

Translated by Michela Schirru

La terza metà is one of those books, which deserves reading just because of the way it’s written. That is: incredibly well.

This book’s main features, in fact, are the quality of the narrative and, in particular, the language. The characters are precise, human, pained and profoundly tragic in both thoughts and actions. The author shows a particular talent in creating characters so disturbed and pitiful, and sketched so masterfully that they jump out of the page at you.

ImageGuglielmo Pispisa, the author and member of the narrative “ensemble” KAI ZEN, has an amazing command of language; alternating impressively from first to third person, he is able to recount the tragedy of an entire family and the lost dreams of two generations, all the while weaving the story expertly into the history of the last 40 years of our turbulent Italian Republic (the so-called “years of lead” and terrorism of the 70’s, the G8 in Genoa, the most recent and unsuccessful attempts to reignite terrorism, the possible actions on the part of the intelligence services to infiltrate and manipulate both in the recent and more remote past). This is a personal story embedded within much larger events involving our nation caught between the old and the new form of political terrorism.
We are introduced to two characters Hieronimus (or more simply, Hiero, whom we meet on the day of his fake funeral) and the “Magister” (a work of art in dignified mental alienation, a homeless man accompanied by four admirable imaginary figures who listen to his memories and who, on their own, make this book worth reading), whose paths seem to cross throughout the novel without the two men ever actually meeting. Both infiltrated by the intelligence services regarding extreme left-wing terrorism (one from the past and one from the present) from two completely different avenues, but both at the hand of one and the same man (Aristotle, a bigwig in the intelligence service: unpleasant, instructive, dangerous: in short – a right piece of shit).
You could categorize La terza metà as a crime novel, which falls under political fiction. What it does is realistically hypothesize what actually could have happened during the “years of lead”: what role did the intelligence service play, what happened to the small fish, to those who didn’t end up on the front pages of the newspapers, those who weren’t leaders and didn’t kill anyone, but who were, nonetheless, so involved as to have their lives turned completely upside down.
In reality, it’s something more. La terza metà is the story of a tragedy which, beginning with the events surrounding a family destroyed by the turns of the story, tells of the disillusionment and shattered dreams of two generations, who thought they could change a country by attacking the heart of the system of power, which turned out to be impenetrable.
For two reasons: One because it turns out that it never had a heart, and two because while they were attempting to attack it, it (the system) was already working towards making them (unbeknown to themselves) pawns in his game.

*Guglielmo Pispisa was born in Messina in 1971. He has written the novel” Città perfetta” (Einaudi Stile Libero 2005) and “Multiplo” (Bacchilega Editore 2004). He is involved in the narrative ‘ensemble’ Kai Zen with which he wrote the novel ”La strategia dell’ariete” (Mondadori  2007).
**JPRossano , class of ‘68, is the pseudonym of an ex-fencer from Turin, whose true identity, while not secret, serves no importance whatsoever. Always having been attracted by the dark side of narrative, he published his debut novel “L’ultima stoccata”-edizioni Il Molo in 2006 and in 2007 the short story “Per sempre” in the crime novel anthology “Tutto il nero d’Italia”(edited by Noubs).
In 2008 he published a review of the novel “Confine di Stato” by Simone Sarasso on Europolar and in 2009 an interview with Wu Ming1 regarding the ‘New Italian Epic’.
You can find some of his short stories and articles on his blog


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