Michela Montante - eneabiumi

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Michela Montante

Da WORLD LITERATURE TODAY (rivista dell’Università dell’Oklahoma- USA)
"ON THE MORNING of 21 March the professor awoke and immediately started his rite of planting the mulberry seeds. . . .That scream, which suddenly filled the room, did not seem strange to him. . . .That insane Andrea/ he said, and dauntlessly continued his preparation." The restless and rebellious Andrea, age sixteen, is the major character of Enea Biumi's Bosinata. His home is an ancient villa, whose facade displays the Diemme family's four-hundred-year-old coat of arms. Andrea lives with his fifty-five-year-old retired father Luigi, his mother Dora ("mammadora"), and his older brother Sante, whose only delight is to observe the stars. Old Zita and Judith Harold also live in Andrea's house. Zita was Sante's nurse from his childhood. Judith Harold, Andrea's "English" tutor, had been living in the villa for seventeen years. Recently, the Diemmes opened the villa's doors to a new member, Doctor Foche, a German psychiatrist, allegedly hired by Dora to cure Andrea of his loud and destructive behavior.
The Diemmes were the aristocratic family of Biumo, a town of five thousand inhabitants m the province of Varese. The people of Biumo eam their living from tourism. The town consists of two textile plants, two car repair shops, a pharmacy, a Catholic church, and a high school. Luigi Diemme had been a professor of Latin and Greek at the local high school and the mayor of the town. However, the town's people recently elected the medical doctor Lodi, once a dose friend of the Diemme family, as their mayor. The pastor of the parish church is Don Santi, the son of an active socialist, who has lately taken up this vocation. He criticizes the empty works of mercy that appease people's conscience but keep injustice in the world. He wants to help his fellow citizens embrace the Gospel at its face value.
With the advent of democracy and socialism, the people of Biumo learn that they all are equal and do not owe respect to the Diemme family just because it is aristocratic. In fact, they do not hesitate to hit Andrea Diemme when he boldly makes passes at the beautiful young girls of the village. Andrea, on the other hand, angry with his aristocratic origin, eventually smashes his villa's coat of arms.
"Mammadora" has a party for Andrea's seventeenth birthday, and, at Dr. Foche and Don Santi's suggestion, she even invites La Vanna, Andrea's girlfriend; At night, when the party is over and all the guests have left, she stops by her younger son's bedroom. There, she cannot bear the surprise of finding Andrea in bed with La Vanna, and has a heart attack. This event marks the end of the hook and effects the catharsis of Andrea's rebellious behavior.
Bosinata is the story of a small town in Lombardy, with its narrator taking the role of a bosino. The bosini were story-tellers who traveled from town to town to tell stories from the past, which underlined the neurosis of their present-day society. The author of Bosinata denounces social injustice with the same subtle irony that Dario Fo uses in his dramas.
The hook is a satiric composition, in which the author joins refined linguistic tones with Milanese popular dialect. The literal Italian translation of the Milanese slang and phrases is found in the footnotes to each page. On various occasions, Biumi compares the characters of Bosinata with the threedimensional characters of Manzoni's classic. The Betrothed. However, m portraying his characters, Biumi uses a new twist. For instance, he compares Airoldi Giuditta to Manzoni's Lucia. But, where Lucia had to leave her dear, familiar places because of persecution by the villain Don Rodrigo, Airoldi Giuditta, alias Judith Harold, escapes from her poor, familiar world on her own volition and goes to England in search of her fortune.
Bosinata is a pleasant book to read and gives an accurate, detailed view of the life of a small town in northern Italy in the year two thousand.

Michela Montante
Marquette University

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