Stephen's Reviews > Boredom

Boredom by Alberto Moravia
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Jan 04, 12

Read in December, 2011

This is my third Moravia novel ("Contempt" and "The Conformist") and so far my favorite. The narrator suffers from boredom (Italian "noia"), which he defines in a very particular way: "A sense of the absurdity of a reality which is insufficient or anyhow unable to convince me of its reality" (p5). Alienated from his world, and particularly his wealthy mother, he begins an affair with a very young woman who had previously been the lover of his neighbor and perhaps even caused that neighbor's death. She is a person of astounding superficiality, which seems to hide some mystery that threatens to disrupt the very boredom to which the narrator has become so attached. The conversations between the compulsively interrogating narrator and his young lover, who maintains a stubborn grasp of only the most flat reality, are very funny and reflect a vision of the world so surprisingly different from that of the narrator that he feels compelled to find some way to reduce her to the "irreality" that constitutes his boredom (for example, marrying her and turning her into a "wife"). Moravia is a very good novelist who finds ways to tell a story of sometimes rather philosophical content in a fashion that maintains tension and keeps the reader moving forward. This was stimulating, sometimes quite funny, and a very quick read.
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