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The Late Mattia Pascal

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  17,715 ratings  ·  504 reviews
Mattia Pascal endures a life of drudgery in a provincial town. Then, providentially, he discovers that he has been declared dead. Realizing he has a chance to start over, to do it right this time, he moves to a new city, adopts a new name, and a new course of life—only to find that this new existence is as insufferable as the old one. But when he returns to the world he le ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 30th 2004 by NYRB Classics (first published 1904)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Il fu Mattia Pascal = The Late Mattia Pascal, Luigi Pirandello

The Late Mattia Pascal is a 1904 novel by Luigi Pirandello. It is one of his best-known works and was his first major treatment of the theme of the mask. The protagonist, Mattia Pascal, finds that his promising youth has, through misfortune or misdeed, dissolved into a dreary dead-end job and a miserable marriage.

His inheritance and the woman he loved are stolen from him by the same man, his eventual wife and mother-in-law badger him
Steven Godin
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italy, fiction
Recognized as one of the founding figures of modern drama and theater, Nobel Laureate Luigi Pirandello is not so well known in the English language as a novelist and short story writer, but this humorous affair written in 1904 shows he could work wonders in both fields. He touches on some of the themes that reverberate throughout his work as a dramatist: those being illusion and reality, and the enigmas of identity.

The narrator here (that would be Mattia Pascal) is something of a wazzock, a risi
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it

Central questions of Pirandello’s novel are “Who am I” and “What is freedom”.

One of the few things, in fact about the only thing I was sure of was
my name: Mattia Pascal.

The last time I read Pirandello I was in high school, and I think I read some plays that I have to re-read because I don’t remember them very well. This is his most-famous novel that has some autobiographical features and is exploring themes of identity, self, freedom, and death that were the most obvious and prominent, spiced
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews

Have you ever thought about going to a place where nobody knows you and starting a new life as an entirely new person?

Luigi Pirandello makes Mattia Pascal live out this fantasy. Great misery has befallen Mattia Pascal and there is no silver lining in sight. Unable to think of anything else to do, he runs away leaving everyone and everything behind. A few days later on his way back home, he discovers that while he was away a dead body was mistaken for his and he has been declared dead in his town
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before you read another book (or finish the one you're reading), before you see another movie, before you contemplate any work of art, get yourself to the nearest bookstore or library or wherever you prefer to look at books, and find Pirandello's Il fu Mattia Pascal (The Late Mattia Pascal), wherein you will find "Avvertenza sugli scrupoli della fantasia" ("A Warning on the Scruples of the Imagination"). Just read those 4 or 5 pages, which are not actually part of the novel, and you will begin t ...more
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Late Mattia Pascal is such a great book that when a reader writes a review he wonders (rightly) what he can add, which has not yet been said, to one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. The reflection is correct, but after reading it you really want to put your thoughts on paper.
The Late Mattia Pascal is undoubtedly a milestone in world literature. Why did I re-read a book from 1904 in 2020? For various reasons: the first is that a work like this must be read several times in lif
That's a fair and often funny reflection on life and freedom which can only appreciate in close relation with men.
I had a little trouble finishing this book due to the somewhat dated mess of the whole affair, but worth a visit.
Jim Fonseca
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italian-authors

Right in the first few pages the author tells us this is the story of a man who “died twice." Our hero, or anti-hero, is going nowhere in late 1800’s Italy. He earns a pittance as the librarian in backwater Italian town. He lives with screaming kids, a wife who has lost interest in him and a viscous mother-in-law who hates him. One day while out of town, he learns from newspapers that the decomposed body of a suicide victim down by the watermill in his home town was mistaken for him. He is free!
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lp

Mattia Pascal.

Mattia Pascal was a man born to endure adversities in every walk of life. He was a dutiful son who saw his family affluence ruined by a benefactor after his father’s death and his mother’s existence fading into rueful shadows. He was a concerned husband and a doting father even in the thorniest situations that brought demoralizing repercussions in his marital life. The only thing Mattia was ever sure about in his burdensome life was his name-Mattia Pascal. It was his solita
Tyler Jones
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Even in so-called literary circles, the name of Luigi Pirandello is connected primarily with his innovative work as a playwright. Almost entirely forgotten, at least outside of the Italian speaking world, are the early novels which launched his literary career. The Late Mattia Pascal, published in 1904 could certainly lay claim to being one of the most unjustly under-appreciated books of the Twentieth Century. It is a psychological meditation grafted on to a rollicking comic adventure. Perhaps t ...more
This is an interesting contrast with 'Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself', which I read a short time ago. In Sheppard Lee a man flees debts and a generally unsatisfactory, pointless life by magic. That is, dying in an accident, he finds he can magically inhabit another body whose ‘owner’ has just died. However, he takes on the character and life circumstances of said dead man, which in time, for each of the sequence of bodies he adapts, becomes intolerable.

Mattia Pascal, in contrast, doesn’t die b
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been such a pleasure to re-read this Italian classic. Mattia's narrative is hilarious and thought-provoking. ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, if not exceptional. Pirandello is witty & amusing, and even when the book shifts into its more blatantly philosophical segments, it's still a pleasure to read. That said, it's dated -- not in content, necessarily, but in impetus -- but not so badly that it completely detracts from the reading experience. A dark but fun meditation on identity & faith/fulness -- and worth it, mostly. ...more
Feb 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Mattia Pascal thinks he has a chance to cut all the laces that bounds him to the world, and live in a state of complete freedom. But soon he discovers there's no full life and no freedom outside the boundaries imposed by society, unless you accept a life of fear and solitude.
A classic, timeless novel (that I probably should have read in high school...).
On my edition there's a post-scriptum from Pirandello in which he reports of a real case he found in a newspaper, 20 years after publishing his
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever wanted to stop your life and become someone else? Well this is what "The Late Mattia Pascal" deals with. It makes perfect sense. Classic novel about identity and how that plays in one's world. ...more
Mattia Ravasi
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Pirandello's most famous book brilliantly exposes weaknesses and strenghts of the Modern Man through a brilliant, entertaining story whose surreal nature weirdly makes it more realistic.

Featured in my Top 5 20th Century Italian Novels:
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
mirela Darau
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was my first book of Pirandello’s and it raised my curiosity about other ones too :). I enjoyed very much the story, the character study, the telling of the story and the –often philosophical - meditations, the humor: indeed everything!
I liked the idea of the story: a man is constrained and defined in the same time by the society he lives is, the name he wears, and cannot live freely without a past. It made me think of all the new beginnings I often wish for, the memories and experiences I ch
Nov 01, 2020 rated it liked it

I think this did get a bit boring at times but I really liked the main concept and how Mattia slowly began to realise his newfound freedom wasn't such a blessing after all. The last like 50 pages or so were probably my favourite!
Nicholas During
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What would happen if everyone you knew thought you were dead? Would you rejoice in a newfound liberty of a new, fresh life? Away from that boring wife? The reduced wealth of you family? The insults of your neighbors that you can't fight? That's what happens to Mattia Pascal. But of course nothing really works out like we plan in this world unfortunately. And it turns out complete freedom from everything has its costs too. Try travelling without a passport. And more than that, even if circumstanc ...more
Ciaran Monaghan
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The main crux of the story is about identity, questioning the ability of a person to change their identity and leave their old self behind when given the chance. It was good in that regard but I am primarily interested in the story and, from that perspective, it was only OK. It had early promise with the narrator being declared dead, opening up the opportunity for a new start, but I felt it didn't really go anywhere beyond that. There were a few threads that I was expecting to develop but they n ...more
Jerry Pogan
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very entertaining story about a man who runs away from a miserable marriage and boring job who unexpectedly wins a small fortune gambling. When he decides to return home after a few days he discovers a newspaper article about a suicide body found that has been identified as himself. He then decides to take a new identity and make a new life. Things become more and more complicated from there and don't go as well as he had hoped. ...more
Big Al
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-translation, 2019
Do you ever feel trapped by your own existence? Do you ever long for the freedom of death but are too afraid of dying? In this bizarre early 20th century Italian novel, a man is granted his freedom and a new lease on life after reading about his own death in the newspaper. For a novel that is over 100 years old, this still feels fresh, fast-paced, and fun. Really enjoyed following Mattia’s adventures as he finds out the pros and cons of being fake-dead.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Pirandello is an authentic genius. The story has a unique circularity unfolding with the progress of the main character life experience. Good insights on life and society that are always valid nowadays. Very recommended.
Maan Kawas
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book, brilliant and engaging!
Dec 15, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5. Pirandello is Kafka if the latter had a sense of humor. Finding comedy amidst bleak and existential situations, Pirandello explores the modern condition and finds that it is, unsurprisingly, strange.

While many of Pirandello's observations still resonate today, the plot and humor do sometimes rely heavily on the cultural expectations of 1930's Italy. I feel that the main themes and plot points could have been conveyed in half the length; as with Kafka, the blurb and first few chapters are t
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars (liked it)

When Mattia Pascal, a husband and librarian living in an Italian village, escapes his difficult family and flees to Monte Carlo, he soon learns his village believes he has passed away which then gives him an opportunuty to remain away and re-invent both his identity and his life:

"Here I was alone, more wholly alone than I could ever hope to be again on this earth; free from every present bond and obligation, a new man, my own master absolutely, with no past to drag along

Pascal is mistakenly declared dead, and he takes advantage by abandoning his life for a new one. Much later, when others discover his actions, everyone approves. Why return when the opportunity exists to leave?

Every existence is a prison. To leave one life means to take up another, and taking up this other life means taking up its shackles. Pascal tries to avoid commitments and requirements, but the avoidance of commitment shackles him as well.

The Late Mattia Pascal could be read as a deeply con

Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[english below]
História de um homem vivo, ainda que duas vezes morto, que acredita ter sido acometido por grande sorte quando é confundido com um suicida e se vê completamente livre das amarras e mesquinharias que lhe traziam desgraça, mas logo descobre que fugir da própria essência é tarefa bastante complexa. Tem lá suas doses de humor, discussão filosófica e política, reverência a história da literatura italiana, e no meio de tudo isso é um grande (talvez o maior) exemplo da genialidade de Lui
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Luigi Pirandello; Agrigento 28 June 1867 – Rome 10 December 1936) was an Italian dramatist, novelist, poet, and short story writer whose greatest contributions were his plays.
He was awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize in Literature for "his almost magical power to turn psychological analysis into good theatre.
Pirandello's works include novels, hundreds of short stories, and about 40 plays, some of whic

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