Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Moravia’s Boredom

I have been reading Alberto Moravia’s Boredom intensely during some sleep-disturbed nights and long sick-bed days. I started it sometime ago, but read over to Breton’s Nadja and much else before finally coming back to meet it encore a few days ago.

100 pages in, I went back and read the introduction written by a friend of Moravia’s who used to take walks with him. Moravia the essay explained walked because of sciatica and boredom. I don’t tend to read introductory essays because i prefer to read the writer’s work as it was intended read in the first instance. But in this instance I was glad whatever sent me to it did, because what I learnt tied in with some of the motivation and query behind my deciding to read this particular book in the first place.

I have to say of it that it’s compulsive and like crochet. The character he depicts in the first person is very familiar, almost uncomfortably familiar. You may be surprised how familiar he is. Perhaps it’s not the he or the character that’s familiar but the agitation and grinding nature of his dissatisfaction, his numb distance and flattened affect. There’s something universal in that. That’s what he’s captured — the grinding unease — in this portrait, despite the specifics of class and privilege and culture in this Roman depiction.

I am not quite finished the novel yet, so on va voir where else it goes. Would love to have seen Moravia write a second version and invert this novel and retell it from the perspective of Cecilia. (Boredom Deux perhaps). A response to Dino perhaps.

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