Bomarzo by Manuel Mujica Láinez - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

My reader profile is: sixty, retired, father of two children, a fan of reading and hiking.

I apologize in advance for not being able to finish this novel. I started it with a lot of enthusiasm and very high expectations ("As you go the historical novelones you will love", "They say that there is a before and after the historical novel, and this is the yardstick to measure them all," etc.) . It is also my fault and I have renounced enriching myself with a Masterpiece, so with capital letters, but, although I have much endurance and I have enjoyed like a dwarf with extravagances of thousand pages like "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" or "The historian", For example, "Bomarzo" has been able to me.

And there is, at the same time, the first obstacle I have to read the novel. It is not that the great and deep knowledge of the author illustrates and enriches his novel: it is that they crush it. You can tell that he is in love with his own style and not every chapter, not every paragraph, but every sentence is weighed down by countless adjectives and comparisons that gradually become overwhelming, tiring, distracting, and making me It has been difficult to keep the attention.

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Is this a novel intended for a specific reader, and I simply do not meet the conditions to appreciate both baroque and twisted wordiness? Or is it an exercise and a boast of style, a bet of the author with himself in plan "nobody writes more exquisite than I", without leaving a single simple sentence subject + verb + predicate, filling it all with paragraphs that occupy three quarters of page and half a dozen subordinate sentences because yes, without any justification? Preciousness, how to recharge even the smallest actions and the simplest dialogues until you have to reread every second sentence You notice the deliberate effort to dazzle and overwhelm, but it goes through the branches, and makes you lose the thread to the reader, however long it may be.

That's why I left it. I opened it waiting for a historical novel that transported me to another time, and when I finally managed to get into Renaissance Italy and begin to unravel the (complicated) strands of the duke's family, alliances, enmities, passions and antecedents , the author himself endeavored to tear me out of his story, without explaining why, and throw me back to a modern age, without having the slightest motive or relation to the original story (because it is not the two parallel parallel lines so typical of the current historical novel, where a modern character investigates the history of his ancestor or a mysterious historical character and the plot jumps from one time to another, while both temporal threads are moving in parallel and leave Establishing points of contact and relations cause-consequence or inheritance-curse-discovery, with an internal logic that justifies it). It is a hermetic novel, full of obscure allusions and references that, at least for me, were difficult to locate, although I constantly used encyclopedias and dictionaries to try to decipher the author's intention and "catch him The tranquillo ". And if some comparisons are wonderful, many others are forced, artificial, and produce the opposite effect to the intended: instead of causing us to "experience" or "feel" something in a strong and direct way, at least I miss. And if I have to go back and reread a phrase slowly, as if it were written in Chinese, to find out how it is something, is that the comparison fails. And it always fails by excess, and not by default. The novel was written in the late 1950s, when word economy, the art of psychological suggestion through concise dialogues, and the "show, don't tell" were still not virtues that the author observed and the reader Always appreciated.

Recommended for hard-core readers with a lot of patience, patience, tolerance, sense of irony, forofos of the psychological-narcissistic novel where the author is the real protagonist that is imposed on the main character (in this case are, the Duke Orsini and his garden of Bomarzo). For example, someone who is an enthusiast of Joyce's "Ulysses" (I also say with the utmost respect: another that I could not finish, despite being rather more entertaining and humorous than "Bomarzo", for the same reasons that made me abandon this one ).

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