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I didn't read those, but my friends who did speak quite highly of them. Thank you for your answer! It's weird seeing this here: I'm italian and have my "finals" in two days, I've been studying like mad and Italo Svevo is one of the main authors I'm supposed to know about. Could you expand on the link between Zeno and fascism? The biggest nose dive I've ever experienced in a book.

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Zeno's Conscience

Create an account. September 23, Weekly Recommendation Thread: September 20, Author of Meet Me In the Future. Often the story moves slowly as we watch the protagonist agoniz Difficult to assign points to a book which I wanted to throw away most of the time I was reading it and ended up greatly admiring.

Often the story moves slowly as we watch the protagonist agonize over simple decisions and, almost inevitably, make a hurried, rash decision. Often these decisions are quickly discarded.

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Other times, the action moves on quickly, out of the protagonist's control. He, along with the reader, must suffer the consequences, I did not find it easy to read this book. Italo Svevo has given us a character in his protagonist, Zeno, who is often erratic, detestable and self centred.

It would be nice to be able to say that Zeno is, despite his faults, still loveable. I greatly disliked this character. His first person narrative was that of a person whom I would not like to know. I often put the book aside… but I always came back to it. The ending is at once surprising and consistent with the character. Zeno manages to redeem himself. I enjoyed the pastiche of psychoanalysis which was extremely popular at the time this book was published in There is also a great deal of social commentary and a wonderful sense of Trieste before the Great War.

The writing is wonderful and I am really impressed with the translation. View all 9 comments. Sep 29, Nick rated it it was amazing. The pacing is also uneven. There is no plot to speak of and therefore no thrust—after the first three chapters, the book seems to slow down almost to a crawl.

However, what keeps you going in spite of this aimlessness is both the humor and the psychological insight into the characters. What makes this book so psychologically profound is that rather than just revealing the minutiae of how we behave, with precision that reminds one of the accomplishments of authors like Tolstoy or Chekhov, Svevo goes further and shows how these behaviors are concealed and interpreted by people. The book is told in first-person narration but by taking the form of confessions to a psycho-analyst, the accuracy of the biography falters and the text becomes riddled with lies.

He is a weak, weak character constantly thwarted by his lack of will and curious inclination to self-sabotage—in everything he attempts to do, he almost always achieves the opposite result, not because of outside influences but because of his very own actions.

Zeno's Conscience - Wikipedia audio article

Zeno is a petty, neurotic bourgeois idiot but his foibles are familiar. I would say that this book should be more popular—but actually it is.

Zeno’s Conscience |

In Italy, this book is required reading in some schools. Yet the unorthodox genre, lack of plot, and length are legitimate obstacles to a more widespread audience. If Svevo had trimmed about a hundred pages from the latter half of the book, his masterpiece now might be as popular and well-known in America as Ulysses , whose main character, Leopold Bloom, was perhaps inspired by a certain Italian Jew whom Joyce tutored while visiting the Austrian town of Trieste. Those last two conjectures can be left to the Svevo scholars. View 2 comments. Jun 06, Hadrian rated it liked it Shelves: italian , fiction.

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If anything, I suppose this book is the victim of its own reputation. I've heard it praised very highly to me as an 'Italian Proust', which is an unfairly high reputation to live up to. Not to say that the book is bad.

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The beginning half and last chapter are excellent. The first parts of the book are the bumbling journeys of an awkward businessman. He transcribes his life into a sort of diary to help him deal with his supposed mental illness, and the results are a brilliant piece of solipsistic a If anything, I suppose this book is the victim of its own reputation. He transcribes his life into a sort of diary to help him deal with his supposed mental illness, and the results are a brilliant piece of solipsistic art.

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There are his attempts to quit cigarettes, his mortifying attempt to marry three out of four sisters in the same family, and the sad nothingness after the death of his father. These chapters are masterpieces of emotional development, and are likely the things which made his reputation. The narrator is not just a comic figure, but one which accurately represents the half-truths and deflections which people tell in order to preserve their egos.

The jealousy which he has over his unrequited love's husband is a fine example of this. The last chapter is something much darker in tone. This was set during the First World War, when "the lamps were going out all across Europe". This last chapter is a howl of despair, a violent lashing out at the sickness of mankind which our narrator thinks can never be removed. The middle chapters, however, are far below the endpieces. They seem to lack the mastery of emotional detail which Svevo wields in the rest of the book. Its entirely possible that his approach has just gone over my head, but I'm still entirely at a loss.

Still, Svevo is a brilliant, if uneven, writer. His insights into the intricate lies people tell about themselves is deeply familiar and unsettling. Nov 15, Nora Dillonovich rated it really liked it Shelves: imaginary-bffs-live-in-these-pages. This book took me an obscene amount of time to finish. I am tempted to rattle off excuses, my various ineptitudes and the inumerable distractions that kept the book on the floor so many days. But I won't. They are unworthy of the time it would take to type them. I read the first three sections of this book quickly compared to the hobbling-with-cane rate I read the rest.

Zeno Cosini's neuroticisms about cigarettes, love, and women were highly amusing. The chapter about his father's death was to This book took me an obscene amount of time to finish. The chapter about his father's death was touching and carried me along with some momentum. What a voice Svevo has given his character. Even while puttering through the other sections, I found myself in awe of the personality, so round and full- so contradictory and yet still honest and true, faithful even. Zeno is an Italian version of a Woody Allen character: replace New York with Trieste, rewind time a hundred or so years.

He is bumbling yet charming, smart but a bit daft at the same time; he perseverates a bit too much for his own good, and has an ego that pitches manically from the top of the barometer, to not quite baseline, but a groveling sort of self-pity state. The other two sections were read much more slooooowly. This is not to say they were lousy- they weren't.

They just didn't really reach the bar set by the entertaining chapters that began the book. These chapters, about his mistress and his business with his brother-in-law and also a much shorter one about psychoanalysis didn't keep my eyes open in the wee hours- nor did they inspire me to reach for Svevo immediately upon waking, which is often the case with books I am reading.

With eyes like blind baby hamsters', I usually grope awkward for my book and minute by minute let the page lick my eyes fully open like words are the metaphorical tongues of my big warm hamster mother. Perhaps I am more fond of essays and stories involving neurotic habits being a highly habited and somewhat neurotic person myself. I also love complicated first loves- especially when an entire family is involved and humorous capers ensue.

There is a great scene where Zeno, emerald with jealousy, is propelled by a purely Zeno brand of malice to make a fool of Guido, the suitor of his initial love sister 1 Ada, not his wife, sister 3 Augusta.