Le case del lago
Description:From the jacket of the Rusconi edition, 1980
This wisdom novel is the first work by an Italian author to be tuned to the culture of “double intensity “, which (descending from the Talmud, the Cabala and the Tibetan Book of the Dead) has already fascinated, among others, Herman Hesse and Carlos Castaneda.
Le case del lago describes a ritual and initiatic adventure developing between a quasi-seance (a psychic peregrination in search of a missing man), a recovery of unfaded memories, that are a real journey to the underworld, and a “Eucharistic” supper, which is only apparently profanatory.
The backdrop of this mysteric (or mysteric tale or Zen poem?) is a remote landscape on the shores of a lake (the Lake of Abysses), the place of three emblematic residences: the Pagoda, the Nameless House, the Purgatory.
In the events that overwhelm the inhabitants of the three houses (intellectuals and hippies) the presence is perceived of the Other, who instills perversion, and of He whose name must not be uttered, who creates miracle and sanctifies life. Neither the narrator, who reconstructs the events, nor his unspecified interlocutor (someone who is halfway between a psychoanalyst and the Angel of Death), trying to discharge his hypnotic magnetism, are able to rationalise the events: the narration, which proceeds by progressive “illuminations”, produces an “open novel”, made substantial by prophetic doubts.
The structure of the story is geometrically ellipsoidal, based on a chain of mysteries, on a counterpoint (as a “metaphysical investigation”) of questions. Who is the protagonist-narrator, that a heart failure leads to exorcise Death? What relation has his soul with the soul hive formed by the inhabitants of the lake’s houses? What links him with Damaso, the young (maybe) Mexican who won the fight with the Other, and to Tadeusz, the boy who smells of jasmine and seems to be the reincarnation of a Polish writer, a massacrer of Jews? Why the butler, Nelson Bonaparte, a black man from Brazil, worships Tadeusz, organizing voodoo ceremonies? And are the dogs, Maximus and Minimus, the innocent witnesses of an infernal world, of which mister Cavalcanti is the lone ferryman, or Heaven’s guardian angels? And this baffling Cavalcanti: is he a saint, a guru, a yogi, or a cunning blackmail-maker? And who will be, therefore, his avenger, or the minister of his holocaust? Why, again, Lia Abramova, Tadeusz’s grandmother, tells her intimate circle, in her raucous Marlene Dietrich’s voice, she had died in another space and another time?
Death and the miracle of its defeat, the journey to the underworld of existential fears, and rebirth in the anaesthetic light of joy, are the great themes of this novel, which turns out to be, in the end, a metaphor of “co-existence”, a Babel of loves, a mosaic of corruptibility and innocence, deliriums and hopes. A Sophoclean thriller of divine and demoniac, Le case del lago is, in fact, a proliferating tree of dreams and events, evocations and regenerations, love and prayer.