"That the polio epidemic among the children... was a tragedy, he could not accept. He has to convert tragedy into guilt. He has to find a necessity for what happens. There is an epidemic and he needs a reason for it. He has to ask why. Why? Why? That it is pointless, contingent, preposterous, and tragic will not satisfy him. That it is a proliferating virus will not satisfy him. Instead, he looks desperately for a deeper cause..."
Let's remember the time when there was no cure, no prevention, no choice. Pointless tragedies should happen no more....Continua
A novel written with great skill, which with a few strokes manages to make the atmosphere of a US small town in 1944, and to describe the reaction of the inhabitants at the outbreak of a tremendous epidemic of polio that will mark the lives of many of the characters. The protagonist of the novel is the 23-year-old Eugene Cantor, a muscular and athletic teacher of physical education, conscientious and full of the spirit of sacrifice, whose greatest regret is not having been accepted into the army and not having gone to war because of a defect to sight. It will be the polio epidemic to offer him the opportunity to test his ideas of a strength of soul and sacrifice for others, drummed from his grandfather. The tragic charge of the novel lies in the fact that his character traits, which won him the sympathy of everyone (and also that of the reader), will be the inexorable cause of his failure and of a lasting unhappiness. The inability to accept the limits of one's own responsibility will also prevent him from accepting any expiation or acceptance of his faults. A very good reading....Continua
Roth è uno dei miei scrittori preferiti. Un po’ perché ha una capacità di approfondire il “semplice”, rendendolo “speciale”, fuori dal comune. E un po’ perché ti fa appassionare ai suoi personaggi fin dal primo momento. Bucky Cantor non si può non amare. Non possiamo evitare di condividere i suoi sogni e il destino contro il quale si infrangono. Non possiamo sottrarci all’atmosfera che terrorizza Newark ai tempi di un’epidemia di poliomielite. Soprattutto, non possiamo non ammirare la maestria con la quale Roth descrive l’egoismo che si cela sotto la generosità… E viceversa. Né l’accurata descrizione di chi ci fa del male più di chiunque altro: noi stessi....Continua