Ho visto un uomo a pezzi
Seven little explosions, seven pieces of a woman’s life, seven stories. The central character in these stories is called Irene. What we know about her is that she feels naked when people look at her; that she has a seemingly perfect body which she is nevertheless ashamed of, wonderful legs on which she often stumbles, and a tendency to run away – from home, love, and all emotional ties – but always come back. These stories capture moments when her life has taken a break, when some event has caused a change of course: the time she went to an unknown woman’s funeral, the time she fell in love with a boy who bumped into her in an alleyway in Lecce, the time she locked herself up in a wardrobe with her son to hide from ghosts, the time her sister beat her in a swimming race, the time her parents seemed child-like to her, and the countless times she went back to Piero, who has dark eyes, perfect hands, a wife and a child, and is the only man Irene can’t manage to leave. Ilaria Macchia’s first literary work is an array of exact narrative devices which – linked by invisible threads, flexible spaces that cry out to be filled with the imagination – build up the portrait of a complex woman: restless but terrified, sharp-tongued but beautiful, like the jellyfish that give the last story its title, and who, like a jellyfish, drifts ‘this way and that, not knowing where to go’: a character who has something to say to each one of us.
The raw material of her narrative is a laconic, in-your face, sometimes violent style, which explores the unexpected that is hidden in the everyday, disarms us with touches of the absurd, bursts impetuously into our minds and looks us straight in the eye, demanding an explanation of who we are.