CULTURE

Loneliness in modern Rome

A 40-year-old Italian bank clerk is devastated by the death of his father. Married with one son, he falls into depression and witnesses his wife’s adultery. On a downward spiral, the petit bourgeois turns into a clochard in a case of self-destruction, denial and masochistic catharsis. This, in a nutshell, is the story of Andrea Carraro’s «Non c’e piu tempo» (No More Time Left), translated into Greek by Archondia Kypriotou and published by Indiktos. At the epicenter of contemporary European literature, the author examines loneliness and the love-hate relationship with one’s family and work. Carraro spoke to Kathimerini recently. Paolo Luciani, the lead character, removes himself from society like a modern-day nouveau pauvre, a clochard by choice. Is it some kind of denial or just another way of looking at society? He doesn’t actually choose, he simply lets himself go because he can no longer live confined to his petit-bourgeois family and job. The death of his father and his wife’s infidelity are the two decisive factors in him doing so. He finds himself in a kind of moral, psychological and social deviation. At the end of the downward spiral there is a way out, where, funnily enough, among the poor and the scapegoats, he is able to find some reality and truth. The end is «open;» what matters here is the hero’s journey toward catharsis, toward a way out. To a certain extent it’s more Christian than Marxist, if you like. How important is the issue of adultery in Paolo’s decision? It’s really the last straw. Paolo is already suffering from depression and when his wife cheats on him he’s already in analysis. I write realistic stories. I’m interested in narrating reality. To do so, I sometimes have to overstress things – in this case adultery is committed in a most shameless manner in front of Paolo’s eyes – to give people and places some kind of symbolism. His relationship with his entire environment is gradually upset, including his relations with his wife, his mother and his colleagues too. How do you explain this downhill course and his increasingly hermetic stance? I want to show evil. In «Il branco» [The Gang, 1994], what led the rapists to rape and kill the German hitchhikers was a form of social evil, even a metaphysical one. In that book I was interested in the unanimity of violence. In this case, evil and violence are exerted by one person onto themselves. Your Rome is not the one that tourists see. Rome is my city. I’m not interested in artistic and architectural beauties located in the city’s historical center, but rather in the isolated and deserted areas. In this book the description of places is to a large extent kept to a bare minimum. This is because the hero is blinded by his depression, he can’t see anything. He starts regaining his sight – his interest in the world comes back to him – as soon as he leaves his bourgeois existence behind.