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This review is taken from PN Review 98, Volume 20 Number 6, July - August 1994.

THINGS BEING VARIOUS MICHELE SPINA, West of the Moon, translated by Ann Colcord (Peter Owen) £8.95

On its original appearance in Italy, as Ad Occidente della Luna, Michele Spina's novella was reviewed by Bianca Caravelli in L'Avvenire, as follows.

Settings that are both mental and cinematic… like those black and white films, not rarefied but spare and basic in their framing, in some way interior, a little like the false lunar exteriors in Visconti's White Nights. The word 'strip' is prominent in this story, set in Venice and the Veneto: 'he saw Venice as a long strip of blue water and pink sky', and 'beyond the lagoon, a long strip that could have been either land or fog. Even the red gleam on the water and the dark strip at the side seemed to him saturated with metaphysical cold.' Metaphysical water .and earth therefore, the creation of a world in two dimensions, as if it followed the paths of cerebral synapses. Starting with the title, the book fits no category of literary genres; it is in some sense fiction and also a philosophical reflection on the optical illusions of day-to-day experience, and it is a poem in prose. The author, born in Messina in 1923, died in 1990 virtually unpublished. A trilogy of his short fictions, Passo Doppio, was brought out by Scheiwiller twelve years ago, but without arousing the interest it deserved. A destiny similar to that of Guido Morselli [who failed to publish anything until he committed suicide, after which all his work was issued], as Maria Corti observes in her ...


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