July 3, 2020 By admin

In striving to be darkly humorous, this novel, about the invasion of Italy during World War II, finds the darkness repeatedly and the humor almost. I first read La pelle (The Skin, available in English translation) decades ago and was deeply affected by its merciless depiction of the misery. Curzio Malaparte and I have a strained and complicated relationship. The Skin is set in war-ruined Naples, in late , at a time when Allied.

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Curzio Malaparte and I have a strained and complicated relationship. It is natural, of course, to have a number of different emotional responses when reading, but Kaputtthe most well-known work by the oddball Italian journalist and novelist, is the only one to ever make me angry.

Curzio Malaparte

This skinn not because I thought the novel bad, but because I found it to be, in places, unpleasantly smug. To understand why this upset me you have to bear in mind that Malaparte wrote the novel while all this stuff [i. So that he positioned himself in his work as some kind of Mother Teresa figure was a bit hard to take; at best it is insensitive, at worst exploitative and horribly self-serving.

As a result of this previous experience, I have long been putting off reading The Skineven though there is much about it that appeals to me, so much, in fact, that I actually bought it on the day of its release.

The Skin is set in war-ruined Naples, in lateat a time when Allied soldiers have entered the city.

The Skin by Curzio Malaparte

These days we tend to talk of liberators, but Malaparte is keen to stress that the American and British troops are conquerers. Italy, which fought on the side of the Germans, has lost the war, and the people now in control, now being welcomed, were previously its enemies, were the people they were, until recently, trying to kill.

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If you are engaged in a war, in an effort to avoid being killed, then, he states, qualities such as honour and justice and nobility and so on are possible, even likely. However, if you are fighting malaoarte to stay alive, i. And mlaaparte is not paid in gold, nor in blood, nor in the most noble sacrifices, but in cowardice, in prostitution, in treachery, and in everything that is rotten in the human soul.

He also points out that Naples, prior to the arrival of these tall and handsome victors, was not what it has become, suggesting, in a not-so-subtle fashion, that they are, therefore, responsible.

In this regard, it would be remiss of me not to mention that this particular book is frequently criticised for its homophobia and racism, amongst other things. At first glance what this seems to suggest is that the author mallaparte black people to be born slaves or easily enslaved due to their own stupidity. However, I would argue that this is not the case, that he is mocking the stereotype, not the race, and that, if anything, the objects of his disdain are the Italians, or more specifically the corrupt thw degraded state of Naples, a city where morality has broken down to the extent that people are engaged in buying and selling other human beings.

What one finds is that throughout the novel it is the group that he showers with the most malapafte praise — i.

Malaparte initially presents homosexuals as predators and pederasts, yet later explains that it is the men who pose as homosexuals, the ones whose response to war is to reject heroism and resort to decadence, not only sexual but political also, that he has a problem with.

On this basis, I want to finish with something positive. The Skin is full of memorable lines, and memorable scenes, and is worth reading for those things alone. But that is not all. Yes, read it for that reason.


That is, they force a story to bend to their agenda rather than attempting subtlety. That said, the premise of The Skin appeals to me, too. I can see why you would say that, but Malaparte presents his work as non-fiction. There is no narrative, rather a series of incidents and episodes, involving [as far as I can gather] mostly real people, places and events. Indeed, many people approach The Skin as journalism [which seems ludicrous to me].

Anyway, I think there is an argument to be made that Malaparte was being deliberately malapartd. Maybe he was an unpleasant man [certainly there are some stories about his dubious political beliefs] but I do not think he was simply using his work to explore his unpleasant views. Yeah, it has long been a bugbear of malalarte, that failure to acknowledge that just because a country sees itself as a hero, and its actions are tue or noble, it does not mean that the people on the other malaparge have to see you that way.

books, yo.

It is ridiculous arrogance to believe that thinking oneself right and just etc actually makes it so. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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