The Heron

The Heron

by Giorgio Bassani

It is a land that lives also in the water, so the active population is made up of people who work there or go there on purpose.

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He still lives in his childhood home with his mother who sets out his underwear for his hunting trip, even though he has a wife and a young daughter who live with him too. The man character is Jewish and suffered during the war under the fascist era in Italy. He feels separate from all those around him, like he is looking at life through a pane of glass. Most of the book is about his preparing for a hunting trip that hes not really interested in going on; he gives his gun to his guide and lets him do the shooting. After the hunt (he gives all the birds away) he becomes enamored with the stuffed animals in a taxidermist shop and imagines that they look more alive than if they were alive.

Shortly afterwards, the heron returns in the direction of the boat in spite of the boatman's sporadic shooting at ducks and other water fowl. Even as L is willing the stubborn heron to fly away to safety, the boatman raises his gun and shoots at the bird. It is very artfully done and left me with even more respect for Giorgio Bassani's writing skills than I already had and with a new respect for the very dignified bird that is the heron. Very early in Bassani's novel, I had begun to be reminded of Leopold and of his many peregrinations and tribulations. As in Ulysses, Bassani's narrative takes place over the course of one long day as Limentani sets out from his house in Ferrara and eventually makes his way back to that same house late in the evening. And in Bassani's book, there are many thoughts about suicide which reminded me that Leopold's father had taken his own life and that the memory of his father's tragedy, along with other anxieties relating to money matters and the persecution of minorities, preoccupied Bloom during the course of his long Dublin day.

Eppure ho anche compreso a pieno i suoi pensieri, le sue difficoltà, il grigiore della sua esistenza e una gran pena (insieme a tanta tristezza e impotenza) mi ha sopraffatto! La narrazione è molto diretta e 'di pancia' e devo dire che l'ho trovata parecchio intima e adatta a seguire la tormentata giornata di Edgardo e suoi pensieri sconforta(n)ti..

Fuori dalla sua azienda agricola, ceduta alla moglie ariana, fuori da un matrimonio mai veramente accettato, fuori dalla casa dove è soggetto a rituali quotidiani che sente falsi, fuori dal rapporto con i propri contadini (siamo nel 1947 e molte erano le rivendicazioni), fuori anche dalla vita visto che dentro di sé sta maturando un qualche male. Nel girovagare per il paese, verso sera, prima di tornare in quella casa, in lui matura una scelta.

This novel emphasizes the agony in protagonist.

Giorgio Bassani was born in Bologna into a prosperous Jewish family of Ferrara, where he spent his childhood with his mother Dora, father Enrico (a doctor), brother Paolo, and sister Jenny. As a Jew in 1939, however, work opportunities were now limited and he became a schoolteacher in the Jewish School of Ferrara in via Vignatagliata.1: In 1940 his first book, Una città di pianura (A City of the Plain), was published under the pseudonym Giacomo Marchi in order to evade the race laws. Bassanis writings reached a wider audience in 1956 with the publication of the Premio Strega-winning book of short stories, Cinque storie Ferraresi. Together with stories from Cinque storie ferraresi (reworked and under the new title Dentro le mura (1973)) it was to be form part of a series of works known collectively as Il romanzo di Ferrara which explored the town, with its Christian and Jewish elements, its perspectives and its landscapes. Bassani passed away in 2000, and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Ferrara.