What is this an investigation if not “philology applied to existence “? Rosa Lentini she is well convinced, though with the exception of her mother, Dona Evelinawhich shows more and more “a surprising interest in philology” and in particular in the Petrarch Sketch codeand the stuttering commander Drago, a former carabinieri but for all and always commander in chief, the others, when he says it, are a little speechless.
However, it can be done, he suggests Paolo Di Stefano which, under the pseudonym of Nino Mottapublishes its second “yellow” (Girls too curious, Bompiani. Yellow so to speak, the use of the genre here is very free and perhaps a bit instrumental) of what seems destined to be a series with all the ornaments.
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Also, his character is not uninteresting. As readers of The Pizzuta hairdresserhe is advancing to the age of fifty, maintaining an enviable fitness, and an equally enviable libido, both in terms of life in general and in terms of sex. She has a daughter, she is separated from a husband who for her is part of a special category of males, the “divorced” (they would be said to be philologically out of context), she is ironic, cheerful, a little tired of college and of course a very expert scholar (especially in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries). If the best friend, when Rosa announces that she is leaving Milan, where she lives, to dedicate herself to a new mystery in the imaginary city of Pizzuta (between Catania and Ragusa, it seems) and therefore utters what is her war cry about philosophy and existence, she replies with a little conviction, “Who knows what excites you,” well, she’s really capable, those chills to try them all.
Now, being a mystery, we won’t explain the plot, though we will try to define the context. It is about a typical cold case.
Many years after the murder of a journalist investigating an obscure crime – it happened in Ortigia, in 1974 – someone actually wrote three letters to Drago, claiming that there are important witnesses to acquire. That this is “someone” and not three different senders is already Rosa’s first conclusion, comparing calligraphy as an expert on ancient manuscripts. From here, things get trickier, which allow us to insert this crime in a constellation of murders, to awaken the memories of witnesses then reluctant and now, big, a little less conspiratorial, and finally come to the solution; which can also be described with a “shield”, that is to say, the scheme that in philology allows to put in chronological order several manuscripts connected to each other.
In all this, Paolo Di Stefano, that too in novels written under his own name he tackles social or historical issues in all their harshness – just proposed again by Bompiani Too blue -, here he has fun taking philological clues, which are certainly not boring (after all, it is especially in this subject that he was trained, in Pavia, if we do not go wrong in the school of Maria Corti).
On the use of the pseudonym to indicate to the reader different projects and literary levels he reflected a lot, among others, Joyce Carol Oatespaying attention to the need or the simple desire of to create a hierarchy of public identities within one’s own artistic inspiration.
It seems to be exactly that the case of Di Stefano-Nino Motta: sheltered by the transparent veil of the pseudonymthat perhaps it allows for a greater license and greater imaginative freedomthe imaginary author is let loose a very fun language and even comic game.
Fun is contagious, we are in the context of one phantasmagoria and Rosa Lentini does not seem so much her ideal as a woman, but what she would probably like to be as far as she was a woman. Her feminine transformation: if not like Paolo Di Stefano, certainly like Nino Motta. He’s a mirror character, basically not a little “masculine”, and here’s the game, even linguistically: with vaguely surreal points like when, having to define the anxious gaze of a tire dealer, it resolves into a “pneumatic look,” or when draft and misfortune chase rhymes in brief. clauses; and we may mention, sifting at random, the “microscope of Teresian intelligence,” which also refers to a Teresa who ended very badly for having come too close to the truth, or mental rumors about the rare and very rare word “heat.” Not to mention the athletic performances in the two-bedroom apartment of former student Claudio Rubino, a Bembo scholar but endowed with remarkable virtues, these extratextual ones.
Nino Motta allows himself the pleasure of narrating in a cheerful and ironic way such a dark and violent episode.. The story to be investigated is in fact tragic, sad, and approaching; but the pace of the investigation is at least festive, also because Rosa and Donna Evelina, in the tradition of the detective and his inevitable shoulder, enjoy a world of it: until it fades into the core, because the novel is finished and therefore there is no, it is longer, even new, possible, new threats. And we say goodbye, readers, with a candid smile. Affectionately teasing.