Lisa De Nikolits – Una furia dell’altro mondo

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Neppure l’inferno è paragonabile alla furia di una donna respinta.
William Congreve, La sposa in lutto (1697)

Avete mai pensato che l’Aldilà potesse rappresentare una possibilità di riscatto? E soprattutto, voi anime dannate a scuola nello studio della più divina delle Commedie, voi che con lui avete attraversato gironi e imparato a memoria versi che adesso (spero) ancora vi ricordiate ancora e finalmente, terminato l’Inferno, “usciste a riveder le stelle” (Dante mi perdoni in anticipo per la citazione ;))… sì, insomma voi, come immaginate il Purgatorio? Di certo come uno spazio che va in senso orizzontale, dall’altro verso il basso e/o viceversa. Secondo la concezione cattolica, un luogo di stasi, in attesa di capire il da farsi con le anime non del tutto “perse”. Invece il Purgatorio di Lisa De Nikolits è un NON LUOGO o LA SOMMA DI TUTTI I LUOGHI POSSIBILI contemporaneamente. Come? Ve lo spiegherà nel corso del romanzo “Una Furia dell’Altro Mondo” la protagonista, Julia Redner.

Julia, donna in carriera all’apice del successo ,si sveglia, dolorante in ogni singola parte del suo corpo, in un luogo asettico: tutto è fermo, statico e dipinto di bianco. Una fila interminabile di sedie e gli aerei che vede fuori dalle finestre le fanno capire che si trova in un aeroporto e più precisamente una sala d’attesa di un aeroporto. Di quelli un po’ particolari, però. Non ci sono orologi, ascensori o scale mobili. Non c’è nessuno a cui chiedere informazioni e non c’è neppure suo marito Martin! Martin non si separerebbe mai da lei! E lei? Come si è ridotta? Stropicciata e trasandata, senza il suo Cartier e il suo portafoglio Prada, senza documenti… senza identità… Ad aprirle gli occhi sul luogo che la ospita è Agnes, una ragazzina dark, piena di piercing e fumatrice accanita (si fuma in Purgatorio? La risposta è sì!) che le è stata assegnata come Introducer, una specie di guida turistica che spiegherà a Jiulia le regole del Purgatorio. Julia si trova lì per ricordare e lo farà grazie al suo Helper, Cedar Mountain Eagle, e a tutte le persone che diventeranno un po’ la sua famiglia. Conoscendo le storie di Tracey la Cicciona, Isabelle ed Eno, Beatrice la Supervisor, Grace la Donna di Plastica, Julia ricorda chi fosse prima di morire (non esattamente quella che si potrebbe definire una bella persona) e soprattutto chi l’ha mandata all’Altro Mondo.

Con una scrittura fluida, densa di contenuti e, talvolta, ironica al limite del “politicamente scorretto”, Lisa de Nikolits tratta temi molto attuali, come la violenza sulle donne, il sessismo nelle realtà lavorative, i problemi di droga e le perversioni. La leggerezza che il Purgatorio, come non luogo, conferisce a questi argomenti e il carisma dei personaggi principali danno al romanzo un taglio decisamente particolare: temi reali in una dimensione surreale, fanno credere al lettore che tutto sia possibile. Che a tutti piacerebbe avere una seconda possibilità. Se volete scoprire come la protagonista sfrutterà la sua “seconda volta”, non vi resta che addentrarvi tra le pagine di questo romanzo, pubblicato per la prima volta in Italia da Edizioni Le Assassine, una casa editrice che fa delle donne e del loro coraggio di raccontare misteri il suo fiore all’occhiello.


Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.
William Congreve’s The Mourning Bride (1697)

Have you even read a thriller about duality? Do you believe in the possibility of a genuine second chance in your life? If the answer is “YES”, No Fury Like That, by Lisa De Nikolits is just your cup of tea! What happened to Lisa Redner, a famous business woman at the top of her career? She does not remember anything about the place she has just woken up or how she could reach it. Everything around her is white, there are a lot a chairs like if it is an airport waiting room… and yes it is! She looks out of the window and see a lot of planes with no brand company over them. There are no clocks, no lifts or escalators. She feels pains in all her body and she does not find her husband Martin! Everything is really weird, she is confused and tense and she does not have anything with her: no Cartier, no Prada purse.

Agnes, a very young and dark girl, comes to help her to get used to her new “home”… but the moment of relief Julia has just had, has been already gone when she discovers the place where she is spending her time is Purgatory! Agnes is her Introducer, a sort of touristic guide to Purgatory’s for Dummies ☺ She has to help Julia to know basic rules to live there and to find Cedar Mountain Eagle, Julia’s Helper. As the independent and selfish woman she has been for all her life, Julia feels really upset and does not accept the idea to be dead and especially she does not want to be helped by anybody: what she just needs is a scented bath and new and possibly branded clothes.

All the plot is centered around the mystery that Julia has hidden inside her mind: why is she in Purgatory? Why is she dead? Cedar the Helper, a very quiet and nice person, guides her to remember something about her past life. Accepting reality can hurt sometimes but, Julia, who has lived alone for all her life on Hearth, rejecting every human contact and hiding herself into her job, has learnt a lot about herself in Purgatory. Helped by other people like her she has met there, she starts remembering the woman she was, the way she dead… and who is her murder!

Surrounded by nice people , she finally accepts herself and decides to ask the Board of Directors (Purgatory has its own rules, I told you!) for a second chance.

The thriller, sometimes veiled like a comedy with a high sense of humour, can face the question “What did you do if you would have a second chance?”. The answer is hidden behind William Congreve’s sentence, which is also the idea for the title: maybe no man knows the consequences of a woman scorned.

Lisa De Nikolits can describe with irony and care some very current topics such as the violence against women, drug addiction, loneliness. She creates a sense of surprise in me discovering her Purgatory in a vertical place, full of rooms for every kind of entertainment to survive at the eternal waiting: there is the Bowling Room, the Cafeteria- Ikea style, the Nail Room, the Rest Room and also a Rain Room if you like depressing yourself a little bit. Her mates are women and men of every age with different life experiences, depicted how they can really appear at Julia Redner’s eyes at the beginning: a group of loses, led by Tracey the Fat, so work addicted that she committed suicide after feeling refused by her colleagues, leaving her husband and two children alone. Or Grace, the Barbie, brutally turned into a plastic doll by his husband, a famous surgeon: she killed herself, unable to recognized her face at the mirror. Julia, changing her point of view, is helped by all her stories to know herself better and to be ready for her second chance.

And you, reader, what do you do if your Purgatory will be and eternal airport waiting room? If you would like to discover what Julia did and if you want to solve her mystery the only thing you can do is reading Lisa d De Nikolits’ No Fury Like That!

 

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J.M. Coetzee – Age of iron

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There was a wonderful place, which seemed like a piece of Paradise: the country boasts both natural beauty and diverse landscapes, from fields of wild flowers, to forests, mountains, sand dunes and crystal clear waters. South Africa was and still is its name. White men transformed this natural paradise into something very near to the Hell, killing natives or destroying their lives. Why? Because of colonization taught them it was necessary, right. Whites are in charge, Blacks have just to obey: History has always told us this.

Supposing you are a retired teacher, your people are the Whites, the Afrikaners, those who had created the system called Apartheid. Supposing you are dying due to cancer and your only daughter has migrated to Usa (she can’t stand this normal situation called Apartheid). Supposing you are starting to reconsider your whole believes, life and mental structures which had controlled your life… but you do not have enough time… what can you do to change your things?

An unbelievable friendship can change people’s mind? How can prejudices rooted in ours mind? How can you stop wasting your time if it is not unlimited?

These and many others are the questions that inspired Elizabeth Curren for writing a letter to her daughter, trying to understand how people could hurt other people for a piece of earth or because the History had always been written by winners and winners had always remembered what they liked more.

J. M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003, wrote “Age of Iron” in 1990 while the Apartheid lasted till 1994. His novel was a critique and a denounce for a system which allowed crimes against humanity, four years before its end.

Often writers feel the urgency to interpret the big mistakes and horrors of their times and their novels must be read as a warning for all the people. This is a good reason not to stop reading!

 

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Joseph Conrad – Heart of darkness

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Joseph Conrad was a multifaceted man: he was a sailor and, with the same passion he loved the sea, he was a writer.. How could a man, who was Polish and learnt English as adult, write so fluently and with this variety of words? This is one of the most fascinating feature of this novel, along with its characters.

Marlow, who was later considered as Conrad’s alter ego, was the main character of the novel which is considered as the forerunner of the MODERNISM. “Heart of Darkness” has a matrioska frame: the reader has different degrees of narration, so he can perceive the plot from different point of views. Few physical descriptions leave the place to a sort of psychological journey. The journey which was told by Marlow to some friends of him during a common chat in a late Victorian afternoon in a yatch on river Thames. Marlow described his juvenile journey in the “heart of darkness” (Congo) when he worked as captain of a steamer for an Belgian Company. He started his journey in search of adventure: he was excited to visit Africa, he left London and then Brussels, the city in which the Company had its headquarters, feeling the imperialistic spirit of his time. The journey, described with huge amount of symbols which connected Marlow to the darkness nature of the environment but also of himself, changed him a lot. The meeting with Mr. Kurtz modified the way in which Marlow had perceived Imperialism since then: Kurtz represented the evil side of each man, destroyed by the desire of power.

The description of the forest and the river in Congo was gloomy and gothic sometimes, following Marlow’s feeling. The frame, very similar to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” but also to Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” let the reader able to understand the common features between three works so different in their genre. As Coleridge’s mariner and Shelley’s Captain Walton, Marlow had his duty too: he had to tell the dangers of losing our soul in search of power and richness, he had to speak about the real face of Imperialism and the risk to become inhuman as if it was normal. This could be a key for reading the novel as a critique to European colonialism. If you are more interested in psychology, “Heart of Darkness” is full of Freud’s theories about Ego, Superego and Id (that could be compared to each station . outer station, central station and inner station) Marlow met during his travel along the river.

If you consider “Heart of Darkness” just a “book for students” you’re making a mistake: this novel is much more than this… let us consider that Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” was inspired by this great Conrad’s masterpiece!

Don’t waste your time… and enjoy your reading!

 

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