Thursday, 6 June 2019

Books From The Backlog - Confessions Of Zeno by Italo Svevo

Books from the Backlog is a weekly post hosted at Carole's Random Life In Books. Carole says it's "a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread. If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks." Find out more and link up your own posts on Carole's Random Life In Books.

I enjoyed taking part in Books From The Backlog last year, but got out of the habit of the weekly posts. Now I hope to use this meme to stoke my enthusiasm for my 2019 Mount TBR Challenge. I'm posting one BFTB a fortnight and then Actually Reading The Book before the next post is due!

Last time I chose To The Blossom From The Flame by Jason Srebnick and my review is on Literary Flits.

Next up is:


Confessions Of Zeno by Italo Svevo

In 1907 novelist James Joyce was engaged as Svevo’s English tutor in Trieste, and in the process they developed a friendship. When Joyce read Svevo’s novel La coscienza di Zeno (Confessions of Zeno), he was so impressed with it that he encouraged the writer to publish it, and later helped to promote it. 
While Joyce became enthralled with the latest novelistic techniques —particularly the stream of consciousness and indirect free style— to get inside the mind of his characters, Svevo accomplished the same thing without the new tools. Zeno’s consciousness is not the flowing of a stream, but the cascading, torrential avalanche of details that is the essence of humanness in all aspects: from low double entry bookkeeping, business, and economics, to manipulations of the Stock Market, to moral dilemmas, and raw passions.

Italo Svevo’s Confessions of Zeno belongs to the comic tradition of Don Quixote and Tristram Shandy, though not in the realist manner, but rather in a psychological vein. After a reading a few pages the reader will have no doubt that he is confronting a paradoxical juxtaposition between things of the mind and things themselves. 

Zeno —the narrator and eponymous hero— on the surface is a hypochondriac, neurotic, quirky, solipsistic, self-examining and self-serving bourgeois; deep down, however, he is love and goodness incarnate, not by design but by the whims of life. 


I picked up Confessions Of Zeno at a book exchange last year I think although it could have been the year before. It was written in Italy in the 1920s and looks like it will be an entertainingly unusual read!

16 comments:

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    1. It was pretty good with some entertainingly funny scenes :-)

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  2. I'm not good with Stream of Consciousness, but the setting and time period would pull me in to give it a try. Hope its a good one, Stephanie!

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    1. Having now read this one, it's pretty good for portraying time and setting but the style might not suit you?

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  3. Hmm, sounds different and potentially fascinating. I hope you like it.

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    1. I like a classic to ring the changes from time to time!

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  4. It does sound fun. And so is the cover.

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    1. Sadly the cover on my copy is far more Traditionally Classic!

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  5. That cover is hilarious! I hope you do get a chance to read it, and love it.

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    1. I'm still not sure how the hair cutting connects to the story!

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  6. Replies
    1. I did! Much more accessible than I had thought it might be

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  7. This one does look pretty entertaining and unique. I hope you enjoy it!

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