The path to the nest of spiders


  • Eliane Luz Bayer



English Language, English


Italo Calvino writes in his preface to The Path to the Nest of Spiders that the novel answers to the "ripeness of the time" since ht wrote it after wartime, a period when everyone had a tale to tell. He tells us that this is a story in which iobody is a hero and nobody has the class consciousness necessary to unify them in the struggle. Calvino acknowledges that it was difficult to conciliate his experiences with the postwar literary movement which he calls Neo-expresSionism, a term which, he thinks, describes better Italian Neo-realism. This is a book with a full realistic depictior of the incongruousness of the whole situation, showing rumen beings driven by loneliness, aggressiveness, unfulfilment and failure to meet, their nerves frayed by the War. It reveals human beings in their weaknesses, subjected to deterministic fates changing roles according to circumstance. Partisans shift to the Nazi side and inform on their f rmer allies and vice-versa, being later chased in revenge. The novel has as its setting Italy under Fascism and unde German occupation, the Italian people being divided betw en the fascists of the "Black Brigade" and the "Partisa4s" who belonged to the Resistance. Although this is a pOlitical book, it has universal appeal. At the same time that it livens up historical facts about the period, it moves our feelings. Calvino's book is about World War II as it is viewed and felt by a small outcast, Pin, who makes considerable efforts to be accepted and understood by adults. In his daily life Pinsuffers the consequences Of the war. His aggressive disposition reflects the environment which he has been brought up in: since he was born, his country has been at war. Besides that, his only sister is a whore, whom he hates and despises.