“Maybe, I thought, it’s not the first love that counts, but the last, the one that accompanies a man to death, that helps him to die.”
Piero Chiara’s most complete book, written on the writer’s usual and solid narrative structure, with a strong autobiographical component. The places in which the story is set are those of the province, between Trieste, Udine and the lands across the border in Slovenia that belonged to Italy until the Second World War. Even the time narrated, during the twenty years of the dictatorship, is familiar.
Aidussina and Pontebba and Cividale del Friuli are the countries where a low-level employee of the ministry of justice is officially transferred. In each town we are presented with a vast collection of characters, who in their own way try to survive life and the increasingly prevailing fascism. Encounters and stories of people who will then intertwine, making the novel pleasant in the plot.
Among the various characters, we focus only on the Special High Commissioner. A fascist ringleader named Mordace, with the task of fascistising the institution and the employees who serve in them. In the pomposity of the office the reflections of an oppressive bureaucracy, and of a political regime made of cardboard, which has kept Italy engaged in a sad carnival for too many years.
We’d love to explain the reason for the title, but it would be like telling the ending of the book. Singapore is not only the unknown of a distant land, read only in children’s stories, but also the set of ingenuity of the protagonist (and perhaps of all of Italy in which the novel is set.
We would never tire of repeating how, in our opinion, Piero Chiara is unjustly forgotten by contemporary Italian literature. We say this with direct reference to the school world, where instead the reading of Chiara’s texts would help students to improve their ability to express themselves in written form. Furthermore, reading Chiara means dealing with a disappeared Italy, but in some respects still present in the character of Italians. If you haven’t read anything by him yet, we advise you not to start with this book, but with other writings at a young age, in order to appreciate the growth of his pen.
Piero Chiara, Vedrò Singapore?, Mondadori, Milano, 1981