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Mio Padre

"my father was a bibliophile unto bibliomania""my father was a bibliophile unto bibliomania"

"As you see," she said, waving to her Index Prohibitum, "my father was a bibliophile unto bibliomania. I'm happy he found his calling as a kind of gentleman publisher. After the war, he edited first a small Florentine newspaper, La Nazione. After that, he managed Editori Laterza in Rome but privately, at Mandadori, published books of poetry under the pseudonym Lato Cattivo. In '63, he assumed the directorship of La Stampa and found he had a great gift for the layering and collaging of information required to build a great newspaper."
"Don't be put off that he's in uniform." she continued. He was a war correspondent criss-crossing the Eastern front through Finland and Poland, wearing the uniform of an Italian officer. The Germans consequently didn't touch him. Was it also part of safeguarding his family back in Florence ? Yes. He represented a lineage that Mussolini didn't dare to offend . Plus he was well acquainted with Countess Edda Ciano from the university days and she was quite fond of him. Although as we were to see, her fondness for her own husband really meant nothing in the end."
"The only thing father was ever a snob about was the quality of a man's mind, which was then his character. He saw Il Duce as a great buffoon and wrote as much in the newspapers. He saw clearly, and wrote strangely enough, elegantly , of the abattoir all around him. He didn't imagine a pantomime figure could have dragged Italy so far into such a blood sea. I think he wrote because it was the slower, cooler process. He wrote more honestly than he spoke. He wrote out of desolation. If you had a conversation with my father he strained to radiate happiness and confidence and laughter and charm, that everything was going to be alright. But he knew happiness against the blank page, writes white. So when he wrote there was not the characteristic charade. He knew it was horrible and rotten and deceitful ; the worlds that he had lived through."

Taste is a dictatorship.


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