When Erri De Luca performs mikado | EUROtoday

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Dyears Impossible (Gallimard, 2020), Erri De Luca masterfully orchestrated the assembly within the Alps, ice axe in hand, of two former protagonists of the Italian Years of Lead: one, who had denounced the opposite to the police, paid for it together with his life. De Luca takes us up the mountain once more, this time to the border of Italy and Slovenia, following an outdated watchmaker who likes to camp alone and sees a younger Gypsy lady fleeing a wedding imposed by her household of fairground employees knock on the door of his tent.

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It is a priori “the chance encounter[…] of a sewing machine and an umbrella” that Lautréamont spoke of: he solely believes in logic and meticulousness – he has repaired so many clocks that he sees every little thing via the foundations of mikado, this recreation of endurance and self-control. On the opposite, she solely believes in astral indicators and palm strains that she reads with the data inherited from her individuals, and bitterly regrets the bear she confirmed after having educated it – not precisely the animal able to imposing itself on the mikado.

READ ALSO Erri De Luca, between earth and skyYet one thing brings the younger illiterate Gypsy woman nearer to the outdated loner who likes to cite Epicurus: she is fleeing not solely her household, who take into account her honor to be flouted, but additionally the police who search out unlawful immigrants; he has created a basis that takes care of regularizing unlawful immigrants and not using a roof over their heads. Which he does, after discovering her, within the close by port of Grado, a job on an area fisherman's trawl, which can enable her to study to write down, marry an Italian and combine.


Both poetic and philosophical, their exchanges could possibly be paying homage to these of the Little Prince and the aviator stranded in the course of the Sahara, in Saint-Exupéry's story. But De Luca is extra devious. The letters that the younger Rom wrote late in life to the administration of the muse, then the pocket book that the outdated loner left earlier than dying, divulge to us that the latter additionally labored to recruit brokers tasked with spying on the West on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Far from being a easy humanitarian, he was till the tip a formidable recruiter who may have merely forbidden himself to enlist the younger Zingara out of respect for her indomitable freedom. At least that’s what we expect till a remaining twist that makes us reread this story, caught by this chilly and tender artwork of manipulation that’s the hallmark of De Luca, who is aware of from expertise that one solely will get out of ambiguity to at least one's detriment.

The Rules of Mikadoby Erri De Luca (Gallimard, 160 p., €18).