Certain authors have a certain heft about them; so much so, that at times, reading their work seems daunting.
When you read a quote such as, “Pirandello turned psychological analysis into good theatre” (through his plays) or discover that he was good friends with the likes of Albert Einstein or find out that he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934 and that this particular read I am proposing was written in 1904, I get how push back could be your first instinctual reaction.
But, I have also always been curious enough and humbly arrogant enough to believe that we have permission (that we absolutely should) give anything a whirl without any damage to ourselves or others. And so, beyond the “forced” reads of my school curriculum, I adventured into the pages of authors such as Pirandello and Pasolini, Dostoevsky and Joyce. And guess what? I was greatly surprised on all levels and in my own way by what I learned and what I didn’t easily comprehend.
If I tell you a little bit about, The Late Mattia Pascal, you will probably be hard pressed to not experience some stirring of interest. Interest that will allow you to leave all the possibly difficult, pretentious, hoity toity snobbery associated to Pirandello’s name behind.
So here goes…
When you don’t like your life, don’t like yourself and come to the realization that every day will possibly be the same boring repertoire of events (or non events) until death, when you feel like a spectator instead of the protagonist of your life, what should you do?
And the answer is…Fake your own death and start fresh and free elsewhere in the big wide world. Heck, why not fake your death twice. You heard me…TWICE!
And as your new life develops and you lose yourself in it what if due to circumstances and an identity crisis, you want to resume your original life but arguably can’t, out of respect for all those tricked into believing you were dead? What if the lives of those you left behind have improved since your demise? What if they are happier and better off without you?
If you want to find out, I suggest you read, The Late Mattia Pascal, and you may find that the wearing of masks (one of Pirandello’s preferred themes) and the telling of lies to disguise, protect, invent, belong, differentiate and elevate oneself all in the name of identity, is as fresh modern and alive today as it was back in 1904.