Distant light by Antonio Moresco

Distant Light by Antonio Moresco

Italian fiction

Original title – La lucina

Translator – Richard Dixon

Source – – personal copy

Today’s writer gives us all Hope the Italian modernist writer Antonio Moresco had written for years. As his work was rejected this later in his life was shown when he published his letters over the years. So he was in his mid-forties when his debut novel came out he is often compared to the American writer’s Don Delillo and Thomas Pynchon. The Italian writer Roberto Saviano described him as a Literary heritage. This book came out in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Impac prize in 2018. He has published thirteen novels and other works including work around a 44 day Camino walk he did, which appealed to me lets hope that gets picked up some time!

” Whar light could that be ?Who’s been switching it on ?” I wonder as I wal along the cobbeld streets of this small village where no one is left, “A light filtering from some isolated cottage in the woods ?” The light of some remaining streetlamp in another village abandonded like this one, but obviously still connected to the pwer suppl, swithched on automatically, always at the same time,

All that can be heard is the sound of my fotosteps echoing in the streets, I glimpse a flight of uneven stone steps, the broken door of a stable, ruined slate roofs collapsed and overgrown with creepers, from which emerge the topsof fig or bay trees growing amoung the rubble, two stone troughs full of water, streets doors of bright peeling paint

The light is seen by the narrator he questions what it is ?

Distant light is a strange book there is another worldliness to the book. The narrator lives in a village in a heavy forest area. When one night he sees a light in the distance where no light should be he starts to wonder where the light is so he looks at the map and starts to record it and next day he sets off to find what is happening heading out he discovers a small child near to where the light was the night before., But this is where the story takes a twist the child seems to live alone ion an abandoned village running the house he lives in doing everything the child even tells the narrator they go to school at night then he makes a discovery at night with the child and the other children in the school.  This is told with the sense of the forest and nature just looming in the background as though the world the narrator knows is disappearing and nature is filling the gap.

it is night now. Several dyas have gone by since I went there. I look at this little light, knowing now where it comes from, sitting behind this low stone balustrade, while the clear moonless sky is filled with stars, and not very far away can be heard the cries of nioght animals and birds of prey and the occasional gaunts of wild boars= moving about in the thick undergrowth.

“And perhaps” I marvel, “perhaps thst boy can also see the light from my house up there, at night, on other side of the gorge, in the middle of all thisdarkness as far as the eye can see, of all the darkness of the world, in the same way that I can see his. i forgot to ask him if he can see it… ”

This is later in the book when he has answered where the light is and who is behind it !

This reminds me at times of Dina  Buzzati’s Tartar steppe there is something about our narrator and the sort of bleak and lonely world is akin. There is also a feeling of otherworldliness with the child and what happens is the narrator in this or another world? what has happened there is a sense of post-disaster post-apocalyptic view with the way Nature is creeping in this again made me think of the lyrics to the Talking heads song Nothing but flowers, where the world is turning back to nature, hear paths are disappearing behind moss and plants. So as we never get any names this is a world of the unknown and we float between life and death in this distant light where is that the present or the past or ? . This is one of those books that you read and go what happened so then read it over which I did still think the book is an unusual not strong story more a sense of feeling and questions and maybe not the answers it is as thou he leaves them for the reader to answer. This was the first book to be translated into English.

December 2020
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