Donatello Bellomo, Mare Notte, Milano, Mursia, 2008, pp. 262, € 18,00
Trying to defend the masculine typical stability among the mobility expressed by the female figures - Isabelle, Pauline, Claudia, Arlette, Tiphaine and the figurehead - the elderly captain Destouches and the mature friend journalist, to work they show “que the esprit du monde y vaut, sans flatterie, tout the savoirs obscur de the pédanterie” (“that the art to be to the world is worth, without exaggerating, the whole dismal erudition of the pedants”), as Molière wants that it recite Clitandro (Fit IV, Scene III) of Les femmes savantes.
«non badi all’apparenza delle mie buone maniere, sono un rozzo vestito a festa che ha imparato sui transatlantici il riassunto del galateo. Stare al mondo significa restare nel proprio alveo e fare un passo indietro quando occorre, senza declinare a vuoto la parola io..» (p. 149, cursive of the author), it seems has said our Captain, then fifty-year-old man, frightened by the strength of the Nature that had bridled Claudia, in love, of twenty years younger.
To the delicate question, What is this thing called love, set by the jazz player Bill Evans to whom it could furnish answer the title My Man's Gone Now - the music teaches, it helps to reflect, it holds company, it evokes, someone if it arrives (p. 46), it is not anymore after all time of improvisations, on the contrary of a sure and calibrated lay back, metaphor of that to be “un passo indietro” (“a footstep back”), to know how to be to the world – you cannot be answered entirely in unpoetic way, as it would be able to make the American neuropsichiatra Louann Brizendine (The female brain, 2007), or rather that it simply concerns a matter of secretions of estrogens. And not of domineering and ineluctable masculine charm, neither of virile apprendre à vivre (to teach to live).
You would be able, in fact, to beat to the inclinable reasonings to judge the behavior of Claudia and the behavior of Pauline, of which the admissions/memoirs are respectively picked in the central part and in the final pages of Mare notte at the italian journalist/«Maigret della Pianura Padana», that well few is due to the case, rather, that the cause of the female instability is purely hormonal. Including that castles in air built by the cultured female brains, but weakened by the period of the falling in love, for which it is worth how much Crisalo doesn't save to Belisa: «De ces chimères-there vous devez vous dèfaire» («they are pious illusions of which you will have sooner or later to free you», Fit II, Scene III, Les femmes savantes). One period that can last for the whole life changing, transforming itself from love, in affection, or in any other feeling.
The neurological state of a woman is inconstant, is similar to the variety of the atmospheric time since the fetal phase passing for the phase of the sexual maturity (that in which Claudia was found, the provincial ingenue young pianist fallen in love of Destouches and courted by Jules) characterized by the search of a companion for the whole life (what will be Jules), attention for the human relationships, for the love, from the wish to reconcile job and family relationships, and finishing in the phase characterized postmenopause, contrarily, from rather low levels and above all stable of estrogens and testosterone, as well as from smaller oxytocin, so much that (as it shows the determined attitude, detached of the strategist, masculine, Pauline) the primary interest becomes for every woman in fertile age that to sustain herself in health not more, to concretely increase her own comfort, to accept or to create her new challenges, shortly, greater egoism, smaller emotionalism.
It's interesting, therefore, to read in the other female figures of Mare notte of the consequent corollaries to the course of the two principal female characters. Isabelle, the domestic believer - «Quella non è una domestica. È un rimorso. Non le dico mai dove sono né cosa sto facendo. Se avessi scelto di rendere conto a qualcuno, quotidianamente, mi sarei sposato. Con un’altra.» (p. 12); «la suora mancata, che mi vorrebbe prete per farmi da perpetua» (p. 222) - that it seemed to have rebelled to the indifference of Destouches; the Arlette that returns from her husband Pierre imposing herself and changing him; the same figurehead of the sailing ship Memoire, symbol of the uncomfortable feminine spirit, heated by the overload of memoirs and emotions in continuous change and cooled by to flow inexorable of the Time - «Sono affari nostri come ce la siamo passata oggi la signora e io, troppo comodo inchiodare quattro assi e mandarla fuori dai piedi», (p. 184) -; Tiphaine, figure of woman/daughter that whirls among the lines of the novel, with intensity, striking, through her own disarming normalcy, with violence the imaginary one, at first of the journalist dragged in a search programmed by the predetermined result and thrown in the well of St. Patrician of the friendship where truth and sincerity ever meet him, and subsequently of the Reader, brought to priority theme, motherhood/paternity, real tropical cyclone on the flat and comfortable routine of a lot of couples. Theme, nevertheless, intelligently declined in Mare notte, according to the circumstances, without expiring in judgments, sentences or absolutions, in terms of decisional autonomy of the tiled woman or in opposition to the right of paternity. Colons of sight for which the friend journalist he makes confessor, in some breakers, witness of part, or undecided respect who is right sworn and who is wrong since valid motives make to hang or to balance the balance of every single character. Also halfhearted, resolvedly and ironically neutral, on the fact to condemn or to acquit the silence.
«quale strada avrebbe preso la vita di Cédric? Questa è la domanda che Pauline Autissier pone a Pauline Autissier da quasi quarant’anni, certa che non risponderà» (p. 259): the silence. That spontaneous, that armature, that immediately. To the lacking testimony of the husband of Claudia, is listened in the white space between a line and the other one inducing to think that also for him, the reassuring Jules, could have had a certain foundation the thought of Destouches according to which «la felicità è solo una parola e che il più delle volte ci si risolve ad accettare che è meglio essere feriti che morti» (p. 155).
«A cosa brindiamo?»
«Alle nostre donne bugiarde.» (p. 178).
Unconsciously I would dare not entirely to deduce, Donatello Bellomo proposes to the Readers two figures of man, for opposition to the female confusion, like to a mountain, stable and cemented to their own habits, and to their own certainties, although corroded, and made defenseless by the loneliness. A loneliness that complains affection and protection (to loss of the liberty to be and to appear, as in the case of Pierre), if it is feared to call it love, that is satisfied, on one side, of a «Non le chiederò nulla, non dica nulla», (Pauline and the journalist, p. 85 and p. 251) to the doughy taste of alibi, and that, from the other, it could end railing, in the desirable pursuance of Mare notte, from the filial love (Destouches and Tiphaine).
It offers a notable quantity of subject on which to reflect, this novel for which Bellomo chooses to face choices of life (Claudia chooses for the Life) and hypothesis of play (the headword abortion is not replaced by bland syntactic circumnavigations). The almost maternal intelligence of Pauline crosses the error, in the prejudice, in the desire to possess Destouches and to want its good to all the costs so much to move the threads than it surrounds him (you see substitution of the photographic car Minox, action that sets a trap the sensitive, insecure Claudia, or, later, the constant attention, from distant relative, to the growth of Tiphaine, without counting or suspecting that to speak would have gotten a not checked effect) equally of Filaminta, mother of Henrietta and Armanda, of Les femmes savantes, which would like to impose, for her own good, the cultured husband and philosopher, that so much likes her and she feels similar to herself, to the first daughter without counting on the factor love. Because very from there Les prècieuses ridicules, text various times quoted in Mare notte, what interpretative cone and of sure inspiration to Bellomo for the peculiar lines of Claudia («inadeguata e provinciale», p. 151) parallelisms can track down really with Les femmes savantes, one of the most mature texts of Molière, one of the last, among the most interesting for the thematic deepened and faced for choice from the Real playwright, in which the incompatible contradictions apparently of the characters female other they don't serve whether to face the thematic seam, particularly of the marriage, of the woman's role in the culture, in the family, in the society, observed from the sexist pulpit and from the not less merciless feminist balconies (of Six hundred as of the XXI century).
This and so much other in Mare notte, among cinema quotations and a proper seeding of titles of musical passages for the sonorous column of a transposition on screen of the novel: there is no bloody death, there is no ferocious crime - it is sorry for the mistake to the sixth line of p. 217, and to the fourth grade of p. 227 - only they will say some, philosophical fists («Una volta gli ho detto che un’amica si sarebbe sposata. “Contro chi?” mi ha chiesto», p. 153, cursive of the author) in the human awareness that also knowing how to be to the world, you also overcome the adversities and the daily boardings of whom says to love us, the moment of the final SOS will arrive which nobody will be able to answer.