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La pelle (PDF ebook) by Curzio Malaparte –

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Una terribile peste dilaga a Napoli dal giorno in cui nell’ottobre del 1943 gli eserciti alleati vi sono entrati come liberatori una peste che corrompe non il corpo ma l’anima spingendo le donne a vendersi e gli uomini a calpestare il rispetto di sé Trasformata in un inferno di abiezione la città offre visioni di un osceno straziante orrore la ragazza che in un tugurio aprendo «lentamente la rosea e nera tenaglia delle gambe» lascia che i soldati per un dollaro verifichino la sua verginità; le «parrucche» bionde o ruggine o tizianesche di cui donne con i capelli ossigenati e la pelle bianca di cipria si coprono il pube perch. This was another amazing work from Malaparte but I enjoyed it less than Kaputt At times I really felt he was trying to clear his rotten conscience by playing the good guy At the same time there are unforgettable images here the skin the Siren Vesuvius eruptingbut I found that the end dragged I did not really get what he was saying with the foetuses at the end that he had not already said in Kaputt or the previous chapters of The Skin The uestions I ask myself reading this book are does Malaparte really have a conscience or is he faking it I was also repulsed at his broad homophobic statements at various parts of the book The Urania orgy just being the most outrageous of themCatch 22 and The Skin tell the story of the same part of WWII from opposite sides American and Italo Fascist and I would have to admit that despite its horrors Catch 22 while being as condemning on war ignorance and rape as The Skin was certainly funnier if less horrifying The Proustian prose of Malaparte is beautiful to read and I could picture many of the scenes he described rather vividly Both books plus Kaputt make powerful argues that might does not always make right and that war is a living hell that I hope my son will never have to face

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La pelle

La «schifosa pelle» E forse la pietà uella che in uno dei più bei capitoli di uesto insostenibile e splendido romanzo – uno dei pochi che negli anni successivi alla guerra abbiano lasciato un solco indelebile nel mondo intero – spinge Consuelo Caracciolo a denudarsi per rivestire del suo abito di raso delle calze degli scarpini di seta la giovane del Pallonetto morta in un bombardamento trasformandola in Principessa delle Fate o in una statua della Madonna Come ha scritto Milan Kundera nella Pelle Malaparte «con le sue parole fa male a se stesso e agli altri; chi parla è un uomo che soffre Non uno scrittore impegnato Un poeta. Prefaced by a dedication to the honorable American soldiers who were my comrades in arms and who died in vain in the cause of European freedom Curzio Malaparte imparts a warning before The Skin opens It s a warning that should be heededNaples has been liberated or is it conuered Amidst a city in the grips of the plague an abominable infestation of moral degeneration which arrived alongside the loveliest the kindest the most respectable army in the world born like Venus of the sea foam containing not a soldier who had a boil a decayed tooth even a pimple on his face Curzio Malaparte acts as liaison interpreter and guide to Colonel Jack Hamilton a sophisticated classically educated American as they explore the devastated city of bombed out NaplesIn the banlieu de Paris aka Europe the people are hungry and nowhere so than in Naples A black market has sprung up with everything for sale and in which blond pubic wigs are sold to cater for the tastes of Negro soldiers Women and children are for sale and there is but one virgin left in Naples a young girl whose family offers her for display to American servicemen Nothing is as it seems and everything is twisted an appalling and at the same time a delicate exuisite unreal sceneThat Europe is at a crossroads Malaparte feels acutelyI was Europe I was the history of Europe the civilization of Europe the poetry the art all the glories and all the mysteries of Europe And simultaneously I felt that I had been oppressed destroyed shot invaded and liberated I felt a coward and a hero a bastard and charming a friend and an enemy victorious and vanuished And I also felt that I was a really good fellowBut it is a crossroads with perversions at every turn Blackshirts I cried Our American allies have at last landed in Italy to help us fight our German allies The sacred torch of Fascism is not spent It is to our American allies that I have entrusted the sacred torch of FascismBoth actor and backdrop the war informs the many conversations and musings that ensue In a sad even anguished and utterly ironic tone we are led from one ridiculous and grotesuely comic vignette to another When asked about the difference between American s and Europeans he states with a ridiculous air of superciliousness The difference is this that the Americans buy their enemies and we sell ours only to receive as though drunk the eually ridiculous reply I have a suspicion said Major Morris that the peoples of Europe have already begun to sell us so as to get even with us for having bought them It took me a moment of further reading to realise that buried in these seemingly nonsensical statements there is a perverse logic Everything is for sale even hungerThat the hyper fertile hinterland of Naples would in the post war era provide almost a third of all agricultural produce in Italy and that the Italians would provide the world with so many wonderful dishes only makes it appropriate that some of the amusing and richly imagined parts would revolve around food Eerie parallels with real events sees a girl shaped fish named The Siren taken from the local auarium to be served to American officers only to invoke the disgust of a rather prudish guest whilst the Italian waiters serve up Spam with hilarious contempt People that have an ancient and noble tradition of servitude and hunger respect only those masters who have refined tastes and lordly manners There is nothing humiliating to an enslaved people than a master with uncouth manners and coarse tastesWith apparent ease Malaparte offers contradiction after contradiction Virtually impossible to decipher there are no easy answers or views to be taken He lambasts cowardice and heroes alike He often appears scathing The young of Europe are on their way to being pederasts They always choose the easiest form of revolt degradation moral indifference narcissism Italy is simultaneously both saved and shamed Italian policy is based on the cardinal principle that there is always someone else who loses wars on Italy s behalf Of the wise and the prudent the false resisters the blas defenders of freedom the heroes of tomorrow lay hidden pale and trembling in the cellars Even the dead receive his withering eye They had invaded Italy France all of Europe We had to defend life our true country life even against them the dead No one is spared And yet there is such humanity evident when he pleads with some frightened and inexperienced Americans to not move a wounded man for he is dying or when he goes searching for his dog Bebo only to find him in the university hospital enduring suffering in silence one of the most touching and grotesue moments in a novel where such events are not in short supplyThere are other novels that touch on war with caustic humour Josef Skvorecky s Engineer of Human Souls is one such book Kurt Vonnegut s Slaughter House 5 is another Joseph Hellers Catch 22 is yet another satirical gem but none of them are so confusing so utterly unclassifiable so perverse and yet so honest and cutting Meandering between cynicism and innocence laughter and sadness Malaparte appears to be in mourning I felt like I was at a wake laughing along at the jokes marveling at the humour and the wisdom but still aware that there is a grieving widow in the room That scenes of life and death can prove so touching and yet so comic marks the genius in this work That it elicits humour does not diminish its horror nor its serious intent but amplifies it That it should prove prophetic confounds the senses for it is a surreal piece that should be read and read widely for it drives home thoughts that we rarely consider such as It is a shameful thing to win a war I recommend this book but with one reservation Read it with an open mind It is not gentle

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é «Negroes like blondes»; i bambini seminudi e pieni di terrore che megere dal viso incrostato di belletto vendono ai soldati marocchini dimentiche del fatto che a Napoli i bambini sono la sola cosa sacra La peste – è uesta l’indicibile verità – è nella mano pietosa e fraterna dei liberatori nella loro incapacità di scorgere le forze misteriose e oscure che a Napoli governano gli uomini e i fatti della vita nella loro convinzione che un popolo vinto non possa che essere un popolo di colpevoli Null’altro rimane allora se non la lotta per salvare la pelle non l’anima come un tempo o l’onore la libertà la giustizia ma. The Skin must have been considered a very scandalous book in 1947 when it was published Its tragicomic account of the invasion of Naples in 1943 must have shocked the people who were only just recovering from the horrors of war I would imagine that they were scandalized by a lot of the distressing and often bewildering observations about their recent past Malaparte s story is still shocking to read today so I cannot even imagine what an impact it must have had just after the end of the war It is only in recent years that you see books published that allow for some occasional comic remark in a WW II setting The story of what happens at the invasion of Naples and the following years is extremely tragic and farcical as well I feel that Malaparte s account shows us the true reality of the madness of war There is an intriguing uestion throughout the book whether Naples was invaded or liberated by the American army Malaparte even implies that he and the people of Naples feel sorry for the American conuerors and that they themselves have the preferable position of being conuered As he puts it in the last sentence of the book It is a shameful thing to win a warHis observations on the behaviour of his compatriots as well as the American army and himself feel very realistic to me Yet there are some shocking stories that feel like scenes from a Jheronimus Bosch painting as they are so dark and archaic that you have trouble taking in the real picture of what he is relating This must be the real face of living through a warCurzio writes pure poetry for pages at a time However cruel and even sadistic his observations often are he does show alot of compassion for the people of Naples and their often grotesue behaviour There are scenes in this book I will never forget They are darkness visible And then again there are very hilarious scenes as well Or very tender scenes like the story of his friendship with the American army officer Jack or his recounting of the death of his beloved dog Febo I feel that this book has a uniue voice in WW II literatureSo I loved this book And I also love that sardonic bastard Curzio Malaparte I love the title too It is so appropriate in that we have only our own skin to live in I will read this book again Highly recommended

10 thoughts on “La pelle

  1. says:

    Probably this gets the award for the most cynical novel I’ve ever read Malaparte is a difficult chap to warm to He’s racist homophobic and was a fascist in the early days of Mussolini’s rise to power Hitler

  2. says:

    Although entirely impossible due to the fact of it being banned in the city had there been a book signing event held in Naples for 'La Pelle' The Skin the pen of Kurt Erich Suckert Curzio Malapatre would in all likelihood stay firmly in the breast pocket of his suit Many would want to see him yes but not for the

  3. says:

    This was another amazing work from Malaparte but I enjoyed it less than Kaputt At times I really felt he was trying to clear his rotten conscience by playing the good guy At the same time there are unforgettable images here the skin the Siren Vesuvius eruptingbut I found that the end dragged I did not really get what he was saying with the foetuses at the end that he had not already said in Kaputt or the previous chapters of Th

  4. says:

    Curzio Malaparte 1898 1957 To win a war everyone can do that but not everyone is capable of losing one Curzio Malaparte Curzio Malaparte born Kurt Suckert to a German father and Italian mother was a journalist and novelist who was a member of the Italian fascist party and took part in Mussolini's march on Rome in 1922 I don't know why he was initially a fascist but he was too much of a free thinker to be one f

  5. says:

    This brutal beautifully written novel about the arrival of American troops in Naples in 1943 and their two year occupation is sad b

  6. says:

    'The Skin' must have been considered a very scandalous book in 1947 when it was published Its tragicomic account of the invasion of

  7. says:

    It is a shameful thing to win a warI kept thinking of Ira throughout this read – the whole idea of liberating a country a people—of the conuerors and the conueredMalaparte's relentlessly sardonic highly original narrative pits the Europe

  8. says:

    Prefaced by a dedication to the honorable American soldiers who were my comrades in arms and who died in vain in the cause of European

  9. says:

    I don't know uite how to describe this one so I'm going to go with some main points a It casts a new light on the lives of liberated peoplesb It's probably the only really horrifiying war book I've ever readc Somehow abc It makes other authors who talk about war including Vonegut seem like little children reminicing about how much fun war i

  10. says:

    Although I am new to Goodreads and have posted very little I have read thousands of books and once had to sell my book collection in reverse order of preference in order to eat I consider that the most honest system of rating a book because your next meal depends upon it I want to expand upon this review but I