Day 19Zeno’s Conscience by Italo Svevo
p. 378—p. 394 ("I would find, at tomorrow’s opening, the high level of that morning.”)
October 1, 2022 by Claire Messud
The series of mishaps that lead to Guido’s death are worthy of Zeno at his most absurd—each small failing or obstacle compounds the situation, from the maid’s loss of the note for the doctor in the rainstorm (the doctor named “Mali,” which in Italian means “evils”), to Zeno’s failure to reproach said doctor for his negligence…
Zeno’s great secret is that he knows Guido didn’t intend to die, having himself explained to Guido the distinction between veronal and sodium veronal. But he also blames the entire Malfenti family, for encouraging Guido to gamble on the Bourse: “He died for a crime committed by all of them together,” and only Zeno was ready (if a little slow!) to help him.
Just as he missed Copler’s death and Ada and Guido’s wedding to be with Carla, Zeno misses Guido’s funeral because, his attention on the Bourse, he follows the wrong funeral procession… his capacity for deflection and emotional avoidance is endlessly impressive!
p. 20—p. 37 (“But I would have been amazed to see him really happy, alone and old as he was.”)
p. 80—p. 98 (“On the crowded Via Cavana, therefore, I had thought more purposefully than in my solitary study.”)
p. 162—p. 185 (“I had found something more than a mere pretext for doing what it was my desire to do.”)
p. 272–p. 296 (“I would not torment myself any more for having wanted to play that false role of Mentor.”)
p. 296—p. 318 (“the Ada who had scornfully repulsed me no longer existed, unless my medical books were mistaken.”)