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Late Mattia Pascal (Eridanos Library, 4) Hardcover – May 1988


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Eridanos P, US; n.e. edition (May 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941419088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941419086
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,581,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Three writers of the twentieth century have given voice to--and leant their names to--our disquiet, our injuries, and our fear; at the same time, through the catharsis or measure of contemplation, which are among the revelations of art, they have helped us to live by tempering our anxiety and desperation; and I am using this term, tempering, in a musical sense...of striking a more pure, more cristalline, more vibrant note. These three writers are Pirandello, Kafka, and Borges.-- Leonardo SciasciaVery funny, often hilariously so. It is also moving, disturbing, tragic. For Pirandello saw comedy residing in "the fundamental contradiction ... between human aspiration and frailty," a contradiction that induced "a certain perplexity between weeping and laughing."-- "The New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Praise for The Late Mattia Pascalin The Guardian.'Pascal, a landowner fallen on hard times and trapped in a miserable marriage, runs away from home and wins a lot of money at the gaming table in Monte Carlo...' Robert Nye in The Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
The idea, or rather the suggestion that I should write this book was given me by my reverend friend, Don Eligio Pelegrinotto, the present librarian of the Boccamazza collection, to whom I will entrust this manuscript as soon as I have finished it, if I ever do. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
In this book, the protagonist, Mattia Pascal runs away from his home and his family to try his luck in Monte Carlo. While there, he finds out that his wife and children believe he has died. Thus, Mattia earns the chance to start a brand new life with a new identity. To his own grief, however, he also discovers that his old self will haunt him forever: when he falls in love with his landlord's sweet and beautiful daughter, he realizes that he cannot marry her and that his life has become a lie.
So he heads back home, only to find that he no longer holds a place in his wife's existence: she has re-married and has had a child... In this novel Pirandello explores once again his favourite subject: human identity and the complexity of character. Through Mattia Pascal's story, however, he also adds the theme of liberty and its close connection with the self: whenever one's identity is given up, as in Mattia Pascal's case, one's self-will will also be annihilated, in that a man with no identity has ultimately no life to master. A very profound book that also makes a good, entertaining reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By . on 25 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Without wishing to retell the story in condensed form, I will say that I found the premise behind the novel, ie. that a man is given the chance, through a combination of his recklessness and fortunate circumstance, to leave his old life behind and restart afresh in total liberty at the age of around 30, to be both original and highly engaging, and one which earns my highest recommendation. Pirandello's writing style more than does justice to his story, with its beautiful flowing prose describing the scenes and feelings lived through by the narrator in what I found to be a very engaging, readable style whilst also managing to bring the characters alive with all their quirks and features.

This is a novel which to my mind can be deeply appreciated on a number of levels - not only for the beautiful writing style and absorbing narrative but also for the intelligence with which the author tackles the main theme of the book, which is what being 'free' really means in modern society, and whether being able to do whatever he wants leads a man to feel fulfilled than when he is living under constraints.

Rather than going down the obvious route of showing that 'freedom is only worthwhile if you feel loved' or some other such black-and-white cliché, the author tackles the issue with intelligence and subtelty, exploring both the opportunities and happiness available to a man when he has the freedom to act entirely as he pleases, and the ultimate impossibility of ever reaching this level of freedom in a typical organised society.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written in quite a beguiling first-person narrative, we follow the adventures of Mattia Pascal; in debt, unhappily married to a depressed wife, and with a witch of a mother-in-law...Then one day, possessed of a small sum of money, he takes off for a bit, tries his hand in a casino, and comes out a rich man. As he plans to return home, he happens to read a newspaper account of a body found in a stream near his home, which has wrongly been identified as himself.
Mattia now plans a life of freedom and enjoyment, living on his winnings. Only life isn't as simple as that...
"Outside of the law, and without those characteristics which, happy or sad as they may be, make us ourselves, we cannot live."
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By Linda Korenika on 10 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good
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6 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
I can't agree with the preceding review. We must have read two different books. I read Pscal at fourteen and I found nothing funny in it. All I found was a hardly decent, terribly slow story, told in the usual boring language so dear to Italian novelists (I read it in Italian, by the way... Maybe the translator did Pirandello a great service, who knows?). It is a book that lacks life entirely. Although the story is plausible, there is no oxigen in it. Besides, it repeats pirandello's themes over and over again. OK, we know, according to him it is impossible for a man to know himself and not to have less than ten personalities at a time. We have heard this song over and over again! I mean, Pirandello dissected the same bloody theme for at least a thousands times. Why the hell couldn't he explore other themes and dilemmas as well? That is the chief problem with Italian literature: it bores readers to death.
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