“…this is how the House of Memories opens, but too late for “I” to get inside.”
Who are we really? No one better than the places in which we live, or have lived, can tell us better. They are there, motionless or semi-mobile, looking at us, welcoming us, watching us grow, live and observe us as we sometimes leave.
“The book of houses” is for us a successful literary experiment to tell the story of a man, called Io, surrounded by characters whose common names we only know: there is Father, Mother, Wife …
Through an analytical description of the places, with a perfect geography, with meticulous and efficient descriptions, Andrea Bajani with a cinematic look slowly leads us from the entrance door to the interior of each house.
But the writer challenges us: home is not just a building with four walls, a floor and a roof. Home is everything that hosts you. And then the notebook becomes home to Io entrust his thoughts; it is home, welcoming and safe, a wedding ring; a wardrobe or a suitcase is home.
We pass in a wise and curious way from the description of places and objects to that of people and feelings: yes, it is an anomalous path, but we advise you to follow it.
We discovered that home is not only what lives outside and is visible to everyone, but there are real places and moments in the life of I that the latter has unknowingly transferred to other houses, to other places …
The book is divided into small chapters, which make reading agile and pleasant, and each of these corresponds to a house in which to enter to get to know the protagonist better; each house is placed in space and time through time leaps that have left us with our questions right up to the last page. In this sense we can define the book as a detective novel, whose investigators are us readers, who are entrusted with the task of reconstructing the passages and landscapes of Io’s life.
Andrea Bajani’s writing has captured, bewitched and excited us. The writer, who makes a wise use of words, confirms to us as one of the most interesting and original pens of our literary panorama.
Andrea Bajani, The book of houses, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2021