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Friday, July 04, 2014

The Time of Indifference (Gli indifferenti)(1929) by Alberto Moravia

Carla in the film version.

Book Review
The Time of Indifference (1929)
Gli indifferenti
by Alberto Moravia
Steerforth Italia/Steerforth Press (2000)
Translated from the Italian by Tami Calliope

  Happy July 4th everyone!  I'm not writing this ON July 4th of course, that would be absurd.  No, I think I will be in Boston, maybe going to a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway park on July 4th.  Mind you: I've never been to Boston before!

  Moravia was active during the period when the Fascists were in power Italy.  His characters reflected the malaise/ineffectuality  of the bourgeois under Fascism.  Since the Italian Fascists didn't ship their critics off to death camps, Moravia existed in a kind of internal exile until Rome was liberated by the Allies.  The Time of Indifference was published when he was only 22.  Like many Novelists Moravia was sick for a long period as a youth, and he wrote The Time of Indifference while sick.

  The Time of Indifference focuses on a love quadrangle (pentagon?)  Between a woman and her two children, Leo their landlord and Lisa, the blowzy ex-lover of Leo and would-be lover of Michele (son of the mom.)  To add to the closed, incestuous nature of the narrative, Leo is the landlord of the family.  Michele, the son, in a plot that seemingly inspired a generation of existentialist novelists, tries to ineffectually murder his mother's/sisters lover, Leo, using a gun that he forgets to load.  Classic existentialist motif! Although there are many novels of the 20th century that hint at at aspects of existentialism  Michele is probably the first truly existentialist hero in the modern sense of the word. 

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