Fear in the World by Corrado Alvaro

Fear in the world by Corraldo Alvaro

Italian Fiction

Original title – L’uomo è forte

Translator – Allen Cameron

Source – review copy

I love reviewing books from new publishers to the blog and this is pone from Vagabond voices whom I have a few books already I have brought over the last couple of years but when I got the chance to review this book from them I jumped at the chance. The writer of the book Corrado Alvaro isn’t very well known outside Italy he was a journalist and writer from 1910 through to just after the second world war when he died of Cancer his best-known book is Revolt in Aspromonte looked at the plight of peasants at the hands of corrupt landowners is considered a masterpiece and a prime example of the Vermiso style. But he wrote this after a visit to Russia but it was considered to be both critical of the Russian system and the Fascist system it was banned in German when it came out the title in the original edition was changed to Man is strong from fear in the world which is the title Alvaro had wanted for the book.

Dale found Babara at the station, as he’d instructed her, He was to hand over a package and a small amount of money from her aunt who lived abroad. Dale had lived much of his childhood abroad and was no longer a teenager when he found out that his country was embroiled in a civil war between two factions; the partisans and the combatants. The partisans had won. One day fifteen years after these events, he visited his country of origins stand at the international exhibition in the city of P. , where he lived.He was impressed by the eight-meter tall statue of a couple – man and woman – advancing with determination and gazing confidently at the future that awaited them,

This is a great intro as the statue is maybe a foreboding for the pair of them moving forward !!

The novel is a love story of Dale an Engineer who has spent a long time away from an unnamed country that has just finished a civil war. He has returned to rebuild the country. The Partisans won the war and he returns to find the positive side initially of the new regime hope for a bright future sees this via statues and the rebuilding of the country which he is part of the rebuilding. Early on his return, he meets Babara she was on the opposite side of the war. So when the pair fall in love this is the start of the downfall of Roberto Dale as this relationship is seen as unsuitable by the regime. They start to watch the pair and try and stop them by various means of both physical intimidation and psychological means. In the end, things turn bleak as Roberto is caught and then falls foul of the regime in full.

Dale started to tell him that some people with malign intentions were spreading discontent, and they used objects brought in from foreign countries to give the impression that over there things were better. Foreign money provided the suggestive image of an unknown world which even appeared designed figures in the banknotes, While he spoke, he completely forgot that he had behaved in precisely this manner and by these means, he had been able to influence Olga, the young chambermaid who he had become hi slave. But Ilga knew nothing and was too foolish. Dale also had his subordinates who tremble before him and he needed as much as he needed life itself.

A look at how caught up in this world he had got caught at one point.

This is in the line of Dystopian classics it is a forerunner of 1984 as mentioned on the cover it was written ten years before that book this is in a vein of the earlier books that looked at the Soviet system like Brave new world by Huxley it shows the horrors of totalitarianism but it also likes his fellow Italian writer Pirandello Alvaro could foretelling the  way the way both Fascist and communist totalitarian states would go this could be seen as either The height of Italy under Mussolini with mistrust of all those opposing Il duce all around or even later East Germany where everybody watches each other and the lover in this book would be under constant observance from the regime. So if you take part in brave new world throw in a bit of the film lives of others and add to that a blossoming romance we get this lost classic out in English for the first time a simmering book of how the perfect dream of a brave new world post-war when the world Dale saw was a hopeful place in the exhibit he saw the statue of a couple holding hands overly symbolic when viewed after reading the book. Have you read or heard of Alvaro?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Nov 15, 2020 @ 02:17:09

    Well done, Stu, you had doubts about how you’d get on with your reading under lockdown, but I hope you’re finding as I did, that it’s the perfect way to forget what’s going on in the real world.
    PS I hope Amanda is ok.

    Reply

  2. 1streading
    Nov 16, 2020 @ 19:58:00

    I’ve got this waiting – hoping to read it next month!

    Reply

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