L’imbarazzo della scelta

L'imbarazzo della scelta libro di Dagnese Luigi F.


Dagnese Luigi F.




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  • I read the first pages of Dagnese’s novel with resentment, then with surprise, later on I read with surprise, and from then on I went ahead in a rush, to make sure my excitement would be sustained to the end. I deveiled myself about six months ago, which explains perhaps why I was ready just for this book, which a friend from the American University smuggled into Egypt last week. Here is a passage from an email sent to Gian, the Italian protagonist, by his young lover, Nagla; secretly pregnant of him, she has just got engaged to a young Arab man: “Il nostro primo appuntamento senza chaperon è stato ieri sera, e abbiamo subito bisticciato per cose stupide su cui non eravamo d’accordo. È normale, succede a tutti? Non è la stessa cosa di un bisticcio con un boyfriend qualunque, quando bisticci coll’uomo che ha recitato il Fatiha con te. Ero spaventata che il mio promesso sposo scoprisse che sono in cinta e cominciasse a picchiarmi prima di averne il diritto. Odio l’idea araba di matrimonio.” I was afraid my betrothed would discover I’m pregnant and start beating me even before he is legally entitled to it. Nagla has plenty of good reasons to question the “Arab idea of marriage.” And here is the email Gian’s former wife, Carlotta writes him after sleeping with his current fiancée, Ada: “È davvero bella. No, stai tranquillo che non te la rubo. Per me è stata una fiammata del colore dei suoi capelli. Lei, a letto con me, si è voluta togliere una curiosità, tutto qui. Sarà la madre perfetta per i tuoi bambini, anche se con quei fianchi stretti stretti… Va be’, se del caso a concepirli i vostri bambini potrei sempre prestarmi io. Non mi spiacerebbe, dopotutto.” All Carlotta wanted from Ada was to “test” her in bed, the way one tests those FIAT cars Mr. Marchionne makes in Gian’s hometown of Turin, Italy. She is sure Ada will be the perfect mother for Gian’s children. And in case she shouldn’t give him children fast enough, why, Carlotta could always lend him her womb for the purpose. These contrasts in Gian’s erratic love life speak volumes about the incomprehension between the Arab and the Western world. And if L’imbarazzo della scelta will find readers who care, as passionately as I do, to bridge this gap, which is cultural, political, and religious at once, it will have done more good for the end of terrorism than most of the innumerable treatises, essays, and journal articles I’ve read in the last eight years.

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