Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Ocean Sea

Sabbia a perdita d'occhio, tra le ultime colline e il mare -il mare- nell'aria fredda di un pomeriggio quasi passato, e benedetto dal vento che sempre soffia da nord.
La spiaggia. E il mare.

The very beginning of Oceano mare, by Alessandro Baricco
(Sand as far as the eye can see, between the last hills, and the sea -the sea- in the cold air of an afternoon almost past, and blessed by the wind that always bow from the north. The beach. And the sea. translated byAlastair McEwen)

I would never dare to translate Alessandro Baricco. Never.
Because I love him, I adore him as an intellectual and as a novelist.
Ocean Sea is one of my favourite books, maybe my favourite book. I've read it many years ago, and I re-read it sometimes, when I need to read something beautiful.
Ocean Sea is a story, but it is also made of many different stories, one for each character, at least. Baricco's characters are always peculiar: children almost like angels, scientists involved in absurd researches, sailors that can tell marvellous stories without speaking, painters who use water instead of colours...

The story is set around a place called Locanda Almayer, the characters arrive here for different reason, but here they all find the sea, and that will complicate or finally solve their lives.
Questo è un posto che quasi non esiste. E se chiedi della locanda Almayer, la gente ti guarda sorpresa, e non sa.

Oceano mare, by Alessandro Baricco

When you read Baricco's stories, either this one, or any other, you must remember that nothing is there by chance, not even punctuation. The use of lay-out and punctuation is one of his main characteristic, in his novels you can find very long sentence (more than a page) and very short ones. The organization on the page tries to represent the scene he is describing, to emphasize words, and so it is a kind of description without the usual devices.
Spiaggia. E il mare.
Il vento dal nord.
Il silenzio delle maree.
Giorni. Notti.
La prima cosa è il mio nome,
la prima cosa è il
mio nome, la seconda quegli occhi,
la prima cosa è il
mio nome, la seconda quegli occhi, la terza è un pensiero,la quarta la notte che viene,
Oceano mare, by Alessandro Baricco

The narrator plays an important role in Baricco's novel, it is a voice that follows all the stories and knows many things about the characters, s/he sometimes stops the narrations to tell external stories or to explain why they are behaving in a particular way. Humor is another great characteristic of Baricco's style, he underlines situations in order to make the reader smile.

Pensa rimugina e riflette e ragiona. Poi di scatto salta giù dal davanzale. Dalla parte della camera, s'intende. Bisognerebbe avere le ali per saltare giù dall'altra.
Rimane lì il bambino con gli occhi fissi sul mare. Ci resta per un po'. Poi guarda bene che intorno non ci sia nessuno e di scatto salta giù dal davanzale. Dalla parte della spaiggia, s'intende.
Oceano mare, by Alessandro Baricco

It is almost impossible to summarize the whole content of this novel, because there are many different stories composing one story, and if you listen to it "...you'll hear the voice of the Sea".

Here you can find a review, and probably a better description of what this novel deal with.


qualcosa di bello said...

i am so glad you posted this. i came home in december to more travel & a heavy school schedule that followed. & i forgot about this until now! thank you so much...my "leggere" list has a new addition :-)

- A - C - said...

Interessante. ho letto solo "Seta" di Baricco... forse dovrei seguire il tuo consiglio e leggere anche Oceano mare.