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- Review: Boredom by Alberto Moravia |;
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The novels that the great Italian writer Alberto Moravia wrote in the years following the World War II represent an extraordinary survey of the range of human behavior in a fragmented modern society. Boredom , the story of a failed artist and pampered son of a rich family who becomes dangerously attached to a young model, examines the complex relations between money, sex, and imperiled masculinity. This powerful and disturbing study in the pathology of modern life is one of the masterworks of a writer whom as Anthony Burgess once remarked, was "always trying to get to the bottom of the human imbroglio.
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ISBN 13: 9780940322288
For the rest of his creative career, Moravia grappled with coming up with another book as artistically successful as his first. Moravia's interlocutor and wide-eyed fan Elkann doesn't put his subject on the spot, asking, for example, how political fashion may have constrained his artistic and philosophical judgments. Yet that repetition in the author's writing is not surprising. Moravia is genuinely obsessed with the regularity we build around ourselves, the malevolent hydraulics of the psyche. What makes this fixation on fixation so compelling is that, with each return to his topic, Moravia delves deeper into the ideas shaping his characters' spiritual and emotional paralysis.
Moravia builds his narratives out of a limited number of primal situations; his figures examine, with skepticism and dogged determination, the reasoning that underlies their compulsion toward an imprisoning fantasy. In other words, Moravia thinks art escapes the mechanical by accepting that it is more than a little mechanical itself. If you have a fan at home, and you turn it on, at a certain point you won't see the blades anymore, you'll see something of a blur.
Now, illumination in reality is a fantastic acceleration of rationality. Fiction must concern itself with "the appearance of re-establishing the language of reason which is universal in its own right, and hence of re-establishing a relationship of some kind between narrator and reality. The writer's protagonists dramatize this possibility: they are self-involved, troubled dreamers wielding therapeutic scalpels on themselves.
Moravia's novels offer the serious pleasures of the diagnostic: the hope is that, by exposing forms of unreason, fiction will encourage more sophisticated, yet impulsive, understandings of the world.
The s version makes Moravia go down smooth, but the results can be awkward. For Davidson, the passage trails off into "shining immaculate between four walls where, by contrast, everything—both furniture and pictures—was blurred in one single blackness. You might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review. We are committed to staying free for all our readers. Now we are going one step further to become completely ad-free.
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