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 Il Peso Della Farfalla

A review by Andrea Scanzi, literary critic of the Turin, Italy daily La Stampa
translated into English by Alessandro Grippo

Farfalle, camosci e bracconieri
(Click here for the original Italian review)

Butterflies, chamoises and poachers
A small gem from Erri De Luca. Seventy pages, simply perfect.

For anyone who believes, and not without his own reason, that contemporary Italian art is irremediably dead, I recommend Erri De Luca's last book.

I know him much less than I should, I am not one of his fans, I do not belong to the group of those - many - that consider him not simply a writer but also a political and existential guru.

I received his last book, The Weight of the Butterfly (editor: Feltrinelli), as a gift. I read it in an hour. Seventy pages. Perfect.

Rarely have I happened to come across such a balanced, smooth, and clean book, where linguistical inventions, never just there for no reason, have the capacity to regularly generate a series of unforgettable images.

It is a short story (including a not less effective appendix), a dare between two creatures at their twilight. The king of chamoises, the king of poachers. The rulers of the mountain, now at the end of their lives.

The king of chamoises is light, but he feels the weight of life. The king of poachers, a hunter and, like the writer, a climber who dared where nobody did, even we he was young and believed in a better future, but who is now aware that the weight of a butterfly would be enough to make him fall.

Part The Old Man and the Sea, part Moby Dick (quoted in the book), read all over again but in a happy, personal key. It is a book made of flashbacks, silences, contemplation, dawns and sunsets, snows and scents, solitude and asceticism, lightning and trees.

A gem, with not even a single word out of place.



translation: Alessandro Grippo
first published on March 28, 2010

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