Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day Ten: "Generous Wine" by Italo Svevo


This was a fantastic story by a writer I'd not heard of when I chose the story. A man attends his neice's wedding and gets drunk on wine. That's the story in a nutshell but it's the watching of him getting to that point, the why behind his drinking on this particular occasion that really tells the story. It's a look at how the choices people make shape perception and then how perceptions fail to change when those same people make an alternate choice.

Here, the niece had vowed celibacy, wanted to be a nun, but then...at her family's urging, decides to "do the right thing" and get married. The uncle/narrator is appalled by this and as he drinks more and more throughout the story, the reader sees not only what he feels about a world view that would put such pressure on his niece but also what he feels about his own situation in a marriage that would have been better avoided in the first place as well.

I wouldn't say this story is a challenge to the institution of marriage per se. Rather, it challenges the notion that choosing one's fate is possible. Fate chooses you and you get married because it's the thing to do. The choice is gone and so the narrator drinks. With a wonderfully vivid cast of characters and spot on dialogue, this story was worth the read.

I'm very glad I found this one. It was for me "generous wine" indeed.

No comments: