by Nicola Pugliese

The title of this fabulist novel (‘when things get bad’ in colloquial Italian) refers to a four day downpour of biblical magnitude, which acts as an extended metaphor for the maladministration and corruption of Naples in the seventies. Naples is seen as alive with the citizens' collective consciousness, described in cinematic detail with a torrent of words equal to the deluge, lending immediacy to what is a very absorbing reading experience.


In fact all that remained was to reconsider everything, really everything, from a perspective other than this one of waiting opened up by the rain. Waiting weighed on hearts like a gigantic press, fixed and inescapable, it fell with the harsh and determination of continuous reproach. And that was the third day of rain. The city of Naples was so disheartened that it choked back its playful melancholic streak and folded away its florid thoughts in a dark corner of the house, along with the rubber mattress and battered fishing tackle.
Translated by Shaun Whiteside


Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
The Dubliners by James Joyce

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