Domenico Starnone (ドメニコ・スタルノーネ)

Se tu te ne sei scordato, egregio signore, te lo ricordo io: sono tua moglie. Lo so che questo una volta ti piaceva e adesso, all’improvviso, ti dà fastidio. Lo so che fai finta che non esisto e che non sono mai esistita perché non vuoi fare brutta figura con la gente molto colta che frequenti.

もしも忘れているのなら、思い出させてあげましょう。私はあなたの妻です。わかっています。かつてのあなたはそのことに喜びを見出していたはずなのに、いまになってとつぜん煩わしくなったのですね。

In case it’s slipped your mind, Dear Sir, let me remind you: I am your wife. I know that this once pleased you and that now, suddenly, it chafes. I know you pretend that I don’t exist, and that I never existed, because you don’t want to look bad in front of the highbrow people you frequent. I know that leading an orderly life, having to come home in time for dinner, sleeping with me instead of whomever you want, makes you feel like an idiot.

This entry was posted in story. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Domenico Starnone (ドメニコ・スタルノーネ)

  1. shinichi says:

    Lacci
    Domenico Starnone

    Se tu te ne sei scordato, egregio signore, te lo ricordo io: sono tua moglie. Lo so che questo una volta ti piaceva e adesso, all’improvviso, ti dà fastidio. Lo so che fai finta che non esisto e che non sono mai esistita perché non vuoi fare brutta figura con la gente molto colta che frequenti.


    靴ひも

    by ドメニコ・スタルノーネ

    translated by 関口 英子

    もしも忘れているのなら、思い出させてあげましょう。私はあなたの妻です。わかっています。かつてのあなたはそのことに喜びを見出していたはずなのに、いまになってとつぜん煩わしくなったのですね。


    Ties

    by Domenico Starnone

    translated by Jhumpa Lahiri

    In case it’s slipped your mind, Dear Sir, let me remind you: I am your wife. I know that this once pleased you and that now, suddenly, it chafes. I know you pretend that I don’t exist, and that I never existed, because you don’t want to look bad in front of the highbrow people you frequent. I know that leading an orderly life, having to come home in time for dinner, sleeping with me instead of whomever you want, makes you feel like an idiot. I know you’re ashamed to say: look, I was married on October 11th, 1962, at twenty-two; I said “I do” in front of the priest in a church in the Stella neighborhood, and I did it for love, nothing forced me into it; look, I have certain responsibilities, and if you people don’t know what it means to have responsibilities you’re petty. I know, believe me, I know. But whether you like it or not, the fact remains: I am your wife and you are my husband. We’ve been married for twelve years—twelve years in October—and we have two children: Sandro, born in 1965, and Anna, born in 1969. Do I need to show you their birth certificates to shake some sense into you?

    Enough, sorry, I’m going overboard. I know you, I know you’re a decent person. But please, as soon as you read this letter, come home. Or, if you still aren’t up to it, write to me and explain what you’re going through. I’ll try to understand, I promise. It’s already clear to me that you need more freedom, as it should be, so the children and I will try to burden you as little as possible. But you need to tell me word for word what’s going on between you and this girl. It’s been six days and you haven’t called, you don’t write, you don’t turn up. Sandro asks me about you, Anna doesn’t want to wash her hair because she says you’re the only one who can dry it properly. It’s not enough to swear that this woman, or girl, doesn’t interest you, that you won’t see her again, that she doesn’t matter, that it was just the result of a crisis that’s been building inside you for a while. Tell me how old she is, what her name is, if she works, if she studies, if she does nothing. I bet she was the one who kissed you first. I know you’re incapable of making the first move, either they reel you in or you don’t budge. And now you’re stunned, I saw the look on your face when you told me: “I’ve been with another woman.” Do you want to know what I think? I think you have yet to realize what you’ve done to me. It’s as if you’ve stuck your hand down my throat and pulled, pulled, pulled to the point of ripping my heart out, don’t you get it?

  2. shinichi says:

    Domenico Starnone’s New Novel Is Also a Piece in the Elena Ferrante Puzzle

    by Rachel Donadio

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/09/books/review/ties-domenico-starnone-jhumpa-lahiri.html

    Let’s get straight to the point. “Ties” is not only the leanest, most understated and emotionally powerful novel by Domenico Starnone — the least internationally known of Italy’s leading novelists, a self-aware postmodernist in the Italo Calvino vein with a penchant for literary jokes and meta-narratives — it is also a key text in that burning literary mystery: Who is behind the pseudonymous novelist Elena Ferrante?

    Starnone happens to be married to Anita Raja, the literary translator who was identified as Ferrante last fall in a report — effectively an unmasking — by the Italian investigative journalist Claudio Gatti that provoked fury among many of the author’s fans, who didn’t want to know. Gatti based his work on financial records, notably an uptick in Raja’s payments from the parent company of Europa Editions, Ferrante’s publisher and also the publisher of “Ties,” here in a fluid English translation by the novelist Jhumpa Lahiri.

    But in literature, unlike investigative reporting, the telling is more important than the takeaway. “Ties” responds to Ferrante’s 2002 novel “The Days of Abandonment” — the second book published under the name of Elena Ferrante, after “Troubling Love” 10 years earlier — and turns it inside out. The books share the same universal plot: A man leaves his wife and children for a younger woman. But the two authors take the story in different directions, and have different prose styles. “Ties” is in some ways a sequel to “The Days of Abandonment,” in other ways an interlocking puzzle piece or another voice in a larger conversation.

    “The Days of Abandonment” is told from the perspective of Olga, a woman whose husband, Mario, has just left her and their young son and daughter for another woman. The story unfolds in often excruciating psychological detail, as Olga falls apart and then pulls herself together again. We have little access to Mario’s inner life. “Ties” puts the same plot elements through a kaleidoscope, telling the tale from three different perspectives, first that of the wife, Vanda, then of the husband, Aldo, and eventually that of their grown children, jumping backward and forward in time over an arc of decades.

    “In case it’s slipped your mind, Dear Sir, let me remind you: I am your wife,” the novel begins. These are the words of Vanda, writing to Aldo, who has left after 12 years of marriage to move in with Lidia. “You see us as an obstacle to your happiness, a trap that smothers your desire for pleasure,” she writes. It is 1974, and politics are in the background. “You came across a respectable young girl close at hand and in the name of sexual liberation and the dissolution of the family you became her lover,” Vanda asserts. “You’ll go on like this forever, you’ll never be what you want, just what happens by chance.”

    At the moment of this confrontation, Aldo tells Vanda only that he’s “been with another woman,” not the more hurtful truth that he’s deeply in love with Lidia. We learn years later about his lack of nerve. Several years after this dramatic rupture, Aldo and Vanda come back together — a painful process that takes time; their new equilibrium requires them to hide things from each other. They live together for decades. One day, they return from a beach vacation to find their Rome apartment ransacked.

    In the chaos, the past comes rushing into the present. Out tumbles a box in which Aldo had kept photos of Lidia, and the letter from Vanda that opens the novel. He thinks back to that fraught time, to the day he told his wife he was leaving. “I tried to explain that it wasn’t a matter of betrayal, that I had enormous respect for her, that real betrayal was when you betrayed your own instinct, your needs, your body, yourself,” Aldo recalls, but Vanda, raging and cursing, would have none of it. “She shrieked, but then immediately she contained herself so as not to wake the children.”

    The children grow up. We learn how their parents’ breakup has shaped their adult selves. But in “Ties,” no one has the last word. All the different truths are set before us, each given its due, each character fully realized, with the empathy and insight of a gifted novelist. Starnone’s prose here is highly skilled without calling attention to itself. In this novel, unlike some of his others, the cleverness doesn’t obstruct the emotional impact.

    Not incidentally, Aldo and Vanda both come from Naples. There’s an unforgettable scene in which, on their way to the beach, a huckster takes money from Aldo. “We were raised in Naples for God’s sake, and you let yourself get scammed like this?” Vanda tells him. The huckster has pretended to recognize Aldo, and Aldo assumes he might be a former student from the time when he taught high school or at a university in Rome.

    Like Aldo, Starnone was also a high school teacher who eventually found success as a writer for Italian television. In interviews with the Italian press, Starnone has said that his mother was a seamstress and his father an angry, jealous man who worked for the railway. This is also the background of the narrator of his 2000 novel “Via Gemito,” which won Italy’s prestigious Strega Prize, and that of the novelist protagonist of his 2007 novel “First Execution,” the only other of his books to be translated into English.

    If this biography seems familiar, it is because it echoes the parentage Elena Ferrante claims in “Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey,” a 2016 collection of interviews. Then again, elsewhere in “Frantumaglia,” Ferrante cites Calvino, who once said, “I don’t give biographical facts, or I give false ones, or anyway I always try to change them from one time to the next.”

    “Ties” is the only recent novel by Starnone that doesn’t become metafiction. Instead of stories within stories, we have “a series of Chinese boxes,” as Lahiri writes in a brilliant introduction that made me want to read more literary criticism by her. Explaining her own preoccupation with this novel, Lahiri, who has written a book in Italian, describes how she fell in love with “Ties” and addresses the challenges of translating it.

    The Italian title is “Lacci,” literally “laces,” and there’s a key scene in which Aldo teaches his daughter how to tie her shoes. But the word also indicates ties that bind, a meaning that evokes Aldo’s desire to slip free of his marital bonds — then come back into their grip. This novel, as Lahiri writes, is ultimately about “the need to contain and the need to set free.”

    When the book came out in Italian in 2014, the Italian paper La Repubblica interviewed Starnone about the similarities between it and “The Days of Abandonment.” He said he had had “no contact” with Ferrante. “I have an ironic relation to writing,” he said. “I don’t consider it the priesthood, whereas this woman seems like the high priestess of writing.” I smiled when I read this.

    Every couple is an enigma to outsiders, and often even to itself. “Ties” is also about that, about the unspoken mysteries that bind us, that push us away from one another and bring us back. We may never know what Starnone and Raja are cooking up in their kitchen. But I cannot think of two novelists writing today whose recent books are in such clever and complicit conversation as those of Starnone and Ferrante. There may not be a smoking gun here, but, luckily for us, there are oh so many Chinese boxes.

  3. shinichi says:

    軽やかな混沌
    ドメニコ・スタルノーネ『靴ひも』(新潮クレスト・ブックス)

    角田光代
    https://www.shincho-live.jp/ebook/s/nami/2019/12/201912_03.php

    「第一の書」は、家を出ていった夫に宛てた、妻の手紙からはじまる。「もしも忘れているのなら、思い出させてあげましょう。私はあなたの妻です」というその手紙から、この夫婦の事情がだんだんと見えてくる。
     二十代のはじめに結婚した夫と妻は、結婚十二年目である。二人の子どもがいる。四歳違いの兄サンドロと妹アンナ。どうやら夫は、家の外に愛する人ができて家を出ていったようだ。この愛人は十九歳。そのまま離婚というシンプルな選択にはならず、一か月も留守にしたと思うと夫はふらりと帰ってくる。そのたび妻は、生活が元に戻るのではないかと期待する。しかしそうはならず、夫はまた愛人の元に出ていく。そんな生活が四年も続く。
     この最悪な結婚生活がどうなったか知らされないまま、第一の書はすとんと終わる。次の第二の書に登場するのは、ヴァカンスに出かけようとしている老夫婦である。
     この夫婦はだれ? と読み手である私はじりじりした気持ちで読み進める。さまざまな可能性がある。出ていった夫と若かった愛人? あるいはほかのだれか? 出ていかれた妻と、その後の再婚相手? あるいは――、とめまぐるしく考え、この夫婦がだれであるのかわかってびっくりする。「そんな、嘘だあ!」と私は心のなかで叫んだほどである。そんなふうに、現実の知人にたいするのと同じような反応をしてしまうくらい、第一の書で、この小説世界に浸りこんでしまったのである。
     ヴァカンスに向かう老いた夫婦は、かつてすったもんだしていた、あの二人である。妻が夫を見捨てなかったことにも、夫が妻のもとに帰ったことにも、驚いてしまう。そんなことってあるんだ、と、これもまた、現実の知人に思うように深く感心する。夫の語りによるこの第二の書で、あの奇妙な生活――夫が愛人と妻のあいだを不定期にいききしていた四年間――ののち、何があったのかがわかる。夫に、妻に、子どもたちに、この家族全体に、愛人に、何が起きて、それぞれがどうその日々を過ごしてきたのか。わかってくると、ぞわぞわとこわくなってくる。愛人ではなく家族を選んだ夫の選択は、いったい彼らのうちのだれに平安をもたらしたというのだろう。
     私は最初、この夫はなんと自由で身勝手な男だろうと思っていたが、そうではないと気づいて、そのことにぞっとした。この夫は自身の内に、相反する矛盾を矛盾のまま抱えているだけなのだ。しかもまったく自覚せずに。家族を続けたいが、恋愛に生きてもいたい。自由を欲しながら、束縛を求めている。何も失いたくはなく、何も持っていたくはない。彼はその矛盾にただ、翻弄され続ける。何も決定しないまま。
     いや、矛盾を抱えているのは夫だけではない。夫を糾弾しながら待ち続け、夫に憤怒しながら受け入れた妻もまた、大いなる矛盾を抱えている。さらには、家族、二人の子どもが成長していった彼らの家もまた矛盾に満ちていたことが、第三の書では暴かれる。登場人物のひとりは言う。「この家には、表面的な秩序と、実質的な無秩序があるんだ」。ひとりの人間の抱える矛盾は目に見えないが、この家に満ちた矛盾は、この第三の書でグロテスクなまでに暴かれていく。
     ミステリー小説ではないが、謎を追うように夢中で読み進めてしまう。先へ進むごとに、静かな残酷さが際立ってきて、矛盾をこれほどまでに飼い慣らせる人というものも、矛盾をはらみつつ強度を増す関係というものも、おそろしくなってくる。
     でもこの小説は、矛盾をはらんだ人間、矛盾をはらんだ人生というものを、断じてはおらず否定してもいない。だから、読みながらどれほどおそろしい思いをしようと、人や人生に嫌悪感を持てない。読後感は軽やかですらある。
     タイトルの「靴ひも」は、作中で、あるエピソードで語られるちょっとしたものだが、こんなふうな、日々の暮らしのなかのどうということのないちっぽけなものが、ひとりの人間の内にある矛盾をやわらかく結びつけ、ときに、人と人を強く結びつけることもあるのだと思う。この「靴ひも」のなんでもなさ、重みのなさ、存在感のなさが、軽やかで、どこか明るくすらある読後感と関係しているのかもしれない。

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.