Friday 3 March 2017

Giuseppe Cafiero on his favourite authors

A genetic propensity led me to nurture myself culturally on Latin-European and Latin-American literature, without, of course, neglecting authors of other cultures. Indeed, it is understandable and natural to feel a certain ardour for some types of narration in which the language and the plot choice assume a principal particularity, in the unmistakable sign of past narratives in which a game became a primary element of the narrative itself.

Cultural reasons then, since my background was nourished above all by ancient roots, by a world proposed as an absolute necessity to provide emotions, educational propositions that are unique because they belong to us as a natural heritage. Incomparable then, for his literary specificity, is the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, who possesses a diverse narrative vision, literary games that are part not only of Latin literature but also of the entire literary patrimony.  To cite other writers who in some way influenced my being a writer, it is appropriate to recall Julio Cortázar, Italo Calvino, José Saramago, Marguerite Duras, Álvaro Mutis, Franz Kafka and others.

 Borges is an indisputable master, among singular suggestions and intriguing subjects, with a unique, specific, shocking vitality since he loved to destroy and reconstruct literature through contradictory periphrases, stinging paradoxes, dramatic contradictions and linguistic sophistry.

Borges of the exciting inquiries, of the unpredictable fictions, of the provocative El Aleph, of the incredible stories and of the sublime tale Evaristo Carriego.

A rebellious Borges, a master of fascinating and diverse literary visions.

But in acting primarily as an inquisitor of words, repartee and stories, he left room for other proposals, for other resolutions. Hence I considered it legitimate to introduce into the literary specificity an interpretation of facts and questions by means of ambiguity.

No longer inquisitions but ambiguities as an axiomatic occasion to penetrate reality, to alter it and to view it from a different perspective, from a perspective of ambiguity. Thus writing becomes a fascinating moment for a proposal between reality and unreality, without managing to distinguish between them because the one specifically envisages the other. Thus games of interlocking puzzle pieces, games at times devious but essentially truthful. It is difficult, in fact, not to admit that ambiguity, a certain ambiguity, governs events and persons caught in different contexts when they become protagonists of human or meta-historical events.

Nothing paradoxical, merely the unveiling of a reality which at times we pretend not to know, because we slyly wish to pretend so as not to face a reality which we think is the only existing reality.

The game of ambiguities must not be construed as an exclusively desecrating moment that seeks to corrupt a reality. It is the miraculous occasion to understand the reality beyond desired and sought hypocrisies, false desires for knowledge, impure perceptive investigations.

It must be an ambiguity capable of dismantling a false representation of the reality that invalidates each appropriate and wise falsity in the face of unique and not at all manifold beliefs. The ambiguity must be able to reveal to us hidden truths which nullify each appropriate truth, which attempt to make us believe that what is declaimed to us as a representation is a unique and immutable truth.

Ambiguity as cognitive sensitivity. Narrating the narratable and then immersing it in variable notes in which the recounted fabric becomes a clump of multiple interpretations which will depend on the mood of the reader or of those who wish to interpret this multiplicity of possible narrative models.

Thus composing and narrating a story that includes a fictitious reality and a true unreality, i.e. a reality of undisputed ambiguities. Narrating a presumed story that is, or can be, the account of a paradox, of a reality marked by oddities but also marked by the ambiguity of reality which, for the writer, can be intended as a tale of endless possibilities. In fact, it is not at all unreasonable that a tale or a story has the peculiar characteristics of what is commonly called “reality” but which of reality possesses very little.

Therefore, it is necessary to pursue the imagination, able to give birth to a story that is imaginative and that has expressive solidity by means of a personal language. The language can thus become, together with the ambiguity, the protagonist of a story, even to the point of becoming the story itself. A language capable of constructing a story of truth-untruth, taking advantage of situations generated by memory. A language able to ascertain words recovered and appropriated to mark a turning point capable of breaking away from the banal use of expressivity.

Much of this is owed to Borges, to Cortázar and others who have charted new paths, paths that can be followed with a will able to render writing a single and rare stream of new propositions, thus revealing that each reality has many facets. To succeed in such a surprising revelation it is sufficient, if one is able, to impose ambiguities on events, stories and fantasies as absolute protagonists, so as to know at least one part of the reality.

Gustave Flaubert: The Ambiguity of Imagination
What would happen if a character, even if only roughly sketched in the mind of a writer, decided to take on a life independent of his creator in order to take revenge against all the other characters that this author had created in his other books?

This is what happens to the legendary writer Gustave Flaubert, when his character Harel-Bey comes to life with a grudge to bear. Even the imaginary characters of books that Monsieur Flaubert has never actually written, but had long pondered and discussed with his most intimate friends, begin to stir with their own motivations.

Quite unexpectedly, Harel-Bey begins a long and difficult journey through the writings of Monsieur Flaubert to try to understand the reasons that induced the writer to write so many books and stories, but never the one that would have had him as leading protagonist. As a vengeful killer, Harel-Bey is determined to murder all of the protagonists of the books and stories Flaubert has written.

In the company of a certain Monsieur Bouvard, himself the star of another book which Flaubert had started but never finished, Harel-Bey seeks his revenge. There’s will be a mission rich in disturbing discoveries, revealing the reasons and the irrationalities of fictionalised reality and unreal fiction.

Giuseppe Cafiero is a prolific writer of plays and fiction who has has produced numerous programs for the Italian-Swiss Radio, Radio Della Svizzera Italiana, and Slovenia’s Radio Capodistria. The author of ten published works focusing on cultural giants from Vincent Van Gogh to Edgar Allan Poe, Cafiero lives in Italy, in the Tuscan countryside. More information can be found on his website.  You can also find him on Facebook.

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