The years go by

Love is protected by illusion; but what if this fails?

The book has the merit of having one of the best incipits ever. Very few lines capable of enclosing the essence of the protagonist, the sense of love relationships between men and women from the dawn of time to the present, the craft of the author’s life.

Released from prison after serving a twelve-year prison sentence for murder, Arturo known as Bube is faced with a different world. Not much remains of the political ideals that had led him to join the partisans: the communist party embraced Togliatti’s line of national reconciliation with old and new enemies, following the parliamentary path for its claims. Much space is left for discussions and political reflections with the father-in-law and other secondary characters, making the historical-political component the second cornerstone of the story.

The first is instead Bube’s relationship with the female universe with a dichotomous vision between those of his family (his wife Mara who patiently waited for him for the years of detention, and then his daughter), and the passing adventures of which he need to deceive himself and try to recover the youth he lost in prison.

Bube does not seek moral justification for his need to find sexual gratification outside the domestic alcove, he only sees it as a normal men’s need, instead completely denying it to women, whose virginity is indeed appreciated until marriage. A pseudo philosophy of life in which he finds confrontation with his father-in-law, who will hide his son-in-law’s escapades from his daughter. A mentality perhaps of a world that has now disappeared, deliberately used by the author to mark the passage of time and customs, without however giving any moral judgment.

If you love clean, dry writing, where words are reduced to the essentials, and if you want to breathe fresh air from a large vocabulary, Carlo Cassola is the writer who best represents this need. A pen capable of going through two world conflicts, and of putting into words all the experiences of a life lived intensely to get to know the human soul.


Carlo Cassola, Gli anni passano, Rizzoli, Milano, 1982

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