The Collapse of La Baliverna

Summary : {The Collapse of La Baliverna} begins with the story of a man awaiting trial. The facts go back two years. He tells us about this Saturday in July, when he was walking at siesta time with his cousin’s family and a colleague of the latter. In front of the old Baliverna building, a simple idea crossed his mind…

Critical : The abundant work of Dino Buzzati remains a wonder to be explored. Rather a set of wonders. This collection bears the title of the first short story, but it could have been named differently, for example, after the longer story The Dog Who Saw God or resume the title They were just waiting for this of one of the other outstanding stories.

Dino Buzzati takes us into various worlds, contemporary or much older, like ancient Rome. It does not matter, we always find the man there, with what he has of big and especially of small. Our faults, our doubts, our fears are the raw material of this author.

Each little pearl of this book confronts us with our evil inclinations. It is easy to identify with the protagonists of Dino Buzzati because they are always human, almost too human. Anonymous, like the hero of Garage Erebus or out of the ordinary, like Albert Einstein in Date with Einstein. Everyone has this little defect which will cause their loss and which is their common point with us. There lies the psychological dimension of this news. But there is also a moment where the narrative swings in another direction. This can happen at the beginning of the story, in the middle, or just at the end. It’s a moment of hesitation that makes us feel that we have gone elsewhere, into the fantastic. The supernatural interferes. But for those who suffer this intrusion, nothing goes.

We are often surprised by the fall of these stories even if, sometimes, we have a presentiment of it. Buzzati plays with us, arranging an ending which in the form of suspense, from a last line which calls everything into question, brings us back to our baseness or to what we were expecting without knowing it. This famous phrase that makes you tap your feet by provoking an exclamation: “Oh but of course!”. We think for a while and yet we wonder how this evidence was not obvious before this conclusion. And we won’t have the answer.

It’s the paw of Dino Buzzati. Or rather the pen of a writer who knew how to stay at the limits of the absurd and life.

The collapse of the Baliverna is a very good collection of short stories, a book that completes the work of republishing in pocket format an immense work.

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The Collapse of La Baliverna – Dino Buzzati – book review