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Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,252 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
In a large apartment house in central Rome, two crimes are committed within a matter of days: a burglary, in which a good deal of money and precious jewels are taken, and a murder, as a young woman whose husband is out of town is found with her throat cut. Called in to investigate, melancholy Detective Ciccio, a secret admirer of the murdered woman and a friend of her husb ...more
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published 2007 by CDE su licenza Garzanti (first published 1957)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Barry Pierce
This novel is the perfect example of "lost in translation". Nearly every page has a footnote which has to explain a joke that doesn't work in English or tell you that Gadda is basically subtweeting Mussolini here. I'm sure in its original language this novel is a masterful critique of Italian politics that inspired both Calvino and Pasolini. However, in English, this novel is like walking into a joke and only hearing the punchline.
Jan 10, 2015 Neva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've waited for so long to be able to read this one in original. It was worth learning Italian language and culture for decades to be able get to know this book in all its dialectal and cultural richness. Intelligent, inventive, passionate prose: I am so sorry a huge part of it is impossible to turn into other language, otherwise I would gladly translate it into Bulgarian.

"Raccolte a tulipano le cinque dita della mano destra, altalenò quel fiore nella ipotiposi digito-interrogativa tanto in uso
Oct 01, 2012 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ce vulisse uno caa stentorea boce der buce in fez che me sbraitasse dinta n'orecchio: "Leggi, a disgraziato: leggi!"

So' appena sciuto, agghiummolato e abbacinato, ma pe' gnente allettato, dalla stolida computazione de' caratteri a stampa su carta - e pure cartaccia de stracci de quelli usati daa portinara de via Merulana (mannaggia a li morti de l'editore tirchio) - de mezzo Pasticciaccio der Gadda.
Mezzo: che ppe leggello tutto mi ce vulisse 'na fornitura de mafarde col rosbiffe: congrua e costa
Maru Kun
A modernist murder mystery set in fascist Italy. Fantastic - what could possibly go wrong? Untranslatability, that's what.

If you don't speak the language it's tricky to tell whether or not something is untranslatable, but when, half way through a somewhat bizarre three-page one-paragraph digression the footnotes informed me that the whole passage was a play on the similarity between the Italian words for light (la luce) and big toe (l'alluce), I begun to suspect my lack of colloquial Italian mea
Jun 28, 2012 charta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lo gnommero della vita
Il "Palazzo degli Ori", allocato nella centralissima via Merulana del periodo fascista è perno di questo pasticciaccio.
In nomen omen, per citare gli antichi, la narrazione non ha ordine né linearità e svicola dai consueti canoni del giallo.
A dispetto di una formazione prettamente scientifica e dei luoghi comuni a ciò connessi (Gadda era ingegnere) questo romanzo racchiude il caos del mondo e, caoticamente, lo dispiega ai nostri occhi attraverso un pastiche linguistico raffi
Michael Mcloughlin
A deeply philosophical, truly profound, novel, about the investigation of a crime in Rome in the early fascist period. The author, Carlo Emilio Garda, was an electrical engineer who, according to Italo Calvino, "tried to master his hypersensitive, anxious temperament with a rational, scientific mentality, but he simply exacerbated it instead; and in his writing he gave vent to his irascibility, his phobias, his fits of misanthropy, which in his everyday life he repressed behind the mask of cerem ...more
May 24, 2012 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-tour
Readers here seem to either love or hate this book, which means that it will not be bland.
Italo Calvino thinks it is great. Well, I have read Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler and it is brilliant, but is also possibly the most frustrating book ever written.
So, now we have a police procedural where we don't find out who committed the crime: an interesting concept. (That is not a spoiler from me, it is in the blurb for the book.)

It is a rambling book, but not random or confusing. We get
Anna Kramer
In theory, this book is fascinating, a murder mystery written without a conclusion because the conclusion is irrelevant. In practice, the story is a collection of distracted ramblings, difficult to follow and without driving tension or purpose. Gadda prides himself on his elevated language, elaborate metaphors, and obscure allusions, much of which disappears in this translated text. I can sense the underlying satire, but understanding the nuance is beyond me, requiring an in-depth comprehension ...more
Feb 09, 2012 Simon marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
A very distinctive book. I don't know that I liked it exactly, but it's ingenious. I won't grade it.
Mar 25, 2016 SurferRosa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italiana
Il topaccio, il topazzio e il topazio

Lo inseguo per la campagna, per i campi e dentro ai tuguri, lungo i binari della ferrovia, infinitamente convergenti. Non lo acchiappo. Lo inseguo per i piani del palazzo – scala A e scala B – nell'appartamento della Menegatti, o Menecazzi, o Menegazzi, è lo stesso, nell'appartamento della Liliana, ma non lo acchiappo. Lo inseguo per le strade dell'urbe, nei vicoli sudici, al mercato. Non lo acchiappo. Mi arrendo e mi consolo con un panino col rosbiffe, o u
Matt Clark
I'm going to agree with my good friend Evan and say that I think a lot of this book was lost on me because I had to read it in English and am just not that familiar with Italian history. As a result, I think a lot of the brilliance of this book just went right over my head.

Still, I found a lot to like. The first 100 pages or so were engrossing (if convoluted) and I really liked Gadda's "system of systems" theory, which I think really explains why the book is written in the sort of meandering met
Jul 17, 2007 Russell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Masochists and
That's it. I fucking give up. I got about 3/4 of the way through this disaster area before I finally did what I should have done initially and lit the fucker on fire. Chapter 8 was the final straw. Chapter 7 ends with (another) footnote identifying a certain passage as a 'typically Gaddaian aside'. I found that amusing in an irritating sort of way since Gadda only writes in asides. He includes so many asides that his book in nearly impossible to follow. (He also enjoys puns, metaphors, and painf ...more
Massimiliano Laviola
Nov 27, 2012 Massimiliano Laviola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italiana
Su una trama molto semplice, un thriller senza soluzione, Gadda costruisce un romanzo monumentale, una sorta di simbolo della complessità moderna.
La parola giusta per definirlo è quella usata da Calvino nella sua ultima sesta lezione: molteplicità.
Personalmente, al contrario di quello che leggo nelle varie recensioni, l'ho trovato piacevole da leggere. Certo non è un libro di intrattenimento, soprattutto nella seconda parte la lettura richiede concentrazione per seguire i mille rivoli in cui la
Ubik 2.0
Mar 19, 2014 Ubik 2.0 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-e-book
“Meglio tacere che esprimersi debolmente”

Ovvero, non mi sento in grado di formulare un parere articolato su un’opera così invadente: piacere, fatica, vertigine, divertimento, sconcerto, curiosità, smarrimento si sono alternati nella mia mente durante queste due settimane di lettura.
Imperdibile, comunque.

Oct 28, 2013 Tegghiaio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No fue una lectura sencilla, me tomó tres semanas finalizar un libro de apenas 300 páginas, pero al menos lo hice bien, como dicta la norma, echando mano del diccionario y de internet cada vez que aparecía una palabra que no conocía o saltaba una referencia que no captaba.

Aquí en Goodreads leí una reseña por parte de un lector italiano que comparaba este libro con Ulises y Juan Ramón Masoliver, el traductor de la edición hispana, dice: "La dificultad del estilo y lenguaje del Pasticciaccio se ha
Apr 18, 2008 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy
While investigating a robbery & murder (of a woman he had long admired) at an apartment building on Via Merulana, Detective Don Ciccio finds that nothing is clear-cut, and that the full story of what happened becomes more and more complicated the further he goes in.

This book is like reading a more masterful version of Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep," but as a satirical Roman novel set during the fascist period. You're never totally sure what is going on with the murder mystery, characters
Nicholas During
Aug 27, 2013 Nicholas During rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A woman is elderly widow is robbed of her very valuable jewels, then across the hall, a young, beautiful sophisticated wife is brutally murdered. The murder victim is, in fact, good friends with the smartest detective in Rome. Think you'll learn the criminal at the end of 400 odd pages? [Spoiler alert] (view spoiler) This is a mystery as if Joyce wrote it. Except Joyce is only concerned with one idiom (I'm thinking Irish English, but that probably isn't true), and Gadda ...more
Jul 18, 2012 Plucino rated it really liked it
Ulysses di Joyce de noantri

Parte come un romanzo "giallo" tradizionale... la scena si svolge a metà marzo del 1927: Tutti ormai lo chiamavano don Ciccio. Era il dottor Francesco Ingravallo comandato alla mobile: uno dei più giovani e, non si sa perché, invidiati funzionari della sezione investigativa...

Usando come pretesto le indagini di Ingravallo &C., l'Ing. Gadda costruisce un pastiche linguistico in cui ho reperito almeno 6 registri (ma ce ne saranno probabilmente molti di più): l'it
Tre stelle, forse tre e mezza ma non ne sono sicura...
Troppe considerazioni contrastanti: da una parte si tratta di un libro che, nella sua assoluta mancanza di immediatezza, quando finalmente ti riesce a rapire ti porta persino a pensare con il gergo dei suoi personaggi, con quel "romanesco" arricchito da un linguaggio a tratti molto ricercato e perfino tecnico (nel quale traspaiono completamente gli studi ingegneristici di Gadda); dall'altra parte, invece, questo suo essere così difficile mi
Robert Wechsler
At first, I thought this was going to be one of the most enjoyable novels I’d ever read. I loved its baroque wildness as well as the detective-protagonist (and I don't read detective novels). After a while, I began to wonder whether Gadda could sustain it, and by page 87 I had sadly soured on the writing, the protagonist, and the entire project.

This is a problem with baroque writing. If it doesn’t pull you along with it, it starts pulling you down. You feel underwater, gasping for air.

The moment
Laurie Neighbors
I simply cannot go on. I don't think the misogyny was lost in translation. Or homophobia?
I wanted so badly to like this book. Calvino was a huge fan, and the idea of a detective story that gets progressively more and more complex sounds fascinating. However the tile is apropos-- so much of the book is just an awful mess. An awful mess, albeit, with long passages of gorgeous description that would function well as stand-alone pieces, but completely shambling and incoherent as a novel. I'm going to give Gadda the benefit and guess that a lot of this was lost in translation, but this s ...more
Olavo Soares
Jan 02, 2016 Olavo Soares rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(read in Portuguese)

That's a very dense book. It somewhat resembles a traditional mystery story (there is a murder and also a jewelry theft), but the language is far more complex and creative, making this piece of literature much more akin to poetry than to prose. The detection of the culprits is not what really matters here. The depiction of Italy at the beginning of Mussolini's era is very interesting. There are lots of puns, plays of words (for instance, the name of Menegazzi Countess is modi
Will McGrath
Bonkers. Sometimes referred to as the "Ulysses" of Italian literature, "That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana" is a philosophical detective story (as its author described it), which is another way of saying the frequently hilarious and frequently bizarre tale of a murder investigation that takes a trip down the rabbit hole of "what is truth, anyway?" It's not a spoiler to note that no questions are answered, ever, (some people might consider this important in a "detective" novel) and that each new ...more
Procyon Lotor
Rara Recensione Remixata - armonia di P.Lotor [contrappunto di Dinahrose] L'unica scusa che avete per non leggerlo che non leggete nulla, nemmeno la lista della spesa, nemmeno l'elenco del telefono, l'orario dei treni o il bollettino ippico. Nulla. [leggendolo scriverete pezzi di pagine, capitoli, capitolando, frammenti di frasi estrapolate, sulla pagina dellorario dei treni, tra laccelerato delle nove che finir invariabilmente a via merulana, e il muy rapido notturno con tanto di ristorante pe ...more
Jan 23, 2015 Jemina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kirjan nimi johdattaa hyvin tapauksen henkeen: sotkuisaa tosiaan. Mutta ei negatiivisessa mielessä, vaan hykerryttävän elämänmakuisella tavalla. Laura Lahdensuun suomennos on upea, mutta jossain vaiheessa oli pakko vilkaista Gaddaa myös alkuperäiskielellä. Ja voi sitä rooman murteen ilotulitusta!

Via Merulanan sotkuinen tapaus on rikoskirja - noin ainakin nimellisesti. Tapahtuu ampumavälikohtaus ja pian uusi verityö, mutta Gadda tuntuu katselevan näitäkin nauravilla silmillä. Olennaista on elämä,
Aug 24, 2014 M.Eloisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sarà che forse io non ho le basi culturali o perché cerco nei libri altra cosa, ma questo libro è stata una vera delusione. Sia perché mi aspettavo un giallo ma descritto da un autore che giallista non è e che quindi poteva dare la sua impronta; sia perchè questo titolo è sempre sulla bocca di tutti (ma a questo punto mi chiedo quanti lo abbiano letto davvero). Se devo leggere un libro in cui la lingua diventa un metodo di provocazione, intellettualismo, stimolo non è un giallo che mi serve, ma ...more
May 18, 2009 Isaiah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
Aug 01, 2008 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyrb-classics
I didn't know what I was getting into when I started this book! Think of picking up Ulysses with no idea what it was all about.

For my complete review:
Leggere A Colori
La vita, soprattutto per un uomo sofferente come Gadda, che patì un infanzia oltremodo difficile, con un complesso materno lancinante, i cui segni sono soprattutto nel testo La Cognizione del dolore, è davvero un enigma difficile da sciogliere. Per cui il testo attinge a piene mani alla filosofia, sottolineandone tutto il relativismo delle interpretazioni, perché la ricerca della verità rimane sempre vana..

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NYRB Classics: That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana, by Carlo Emilio Gadda 1 8 Oct 30, 2013 07:57PM  
  • To Each His Own
  • Il partigiano Johnny
  • Don Giovanni in Sicilia
  • Uomini e no
  • The Ragazzi
  • La donna della domenica
  • Il centravanti è stato assassinato verso sera
  • The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
  • History
  • As a Man Grows Older
  • A Woman
  • The Skin
  • The Time of Indifference
  • The Moon and the Bonfire
  • Diceria dell'untore
  • Reeds in the Wind
  • Fontamara
  • Il Male oscuro
Carlo Emilio Gadda was an Italian writer and poet. He belongs to the tradition of the language innovators, writers that played with the somewhat stiff standard pre-war Italian language, and added elements of dialects, technical jargon and wordplay.
Gadda was a practising engineer from Milan, and he both loved and hated his job. Critics have compared him to other writers with a scientific background
More about Carlo Emilio Gadda...

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