I went to my other book group tonight and really enjoyed spending time with the group and Christine. I was looking forward to the meeting because we discussed Zeno’s Conscience by Italo Svevo and I wanted to hear what everyone thought. I did manage to finish it but feel like I missed a lot.
The novel is supposed to be Zeno’s journal. He is undergoing psychoanalysis and his therapist encourages him to write this as part of his treatment. The journal is divided into sections on Zeno’s attempt to quit smoking, the story of his marrige, his mistress, his father’s death, and a business partnership.
While I didn’t love the book there were certain aspects I enjoyed, the touches of humor and Zeno, who was hard to dislike even if he was a liar, delusional, self-involved, etc. He seemed very real actually. I guess my problem was that I go more for a narrative and the fact that I read most of the book over the course of a couple of days. Perhaps my reading would have benefited greatly from some breaks in between.
Overall though this novel reminds me of why I enjoy book groups so much. If it hadn’t been for the group I probably would have never read this book. I admit I admire the cover art but one quick read of the blurbs and I may have put it back on the shelf after reading that Svevo was dubbed “the Italian Proust”. So, yay for exploring a new author and a work of literature deemed by some critics as a masterpiece of Italian literature.
I am looking forward to our March selection as it’s Half of a Yellow Sun – a book I’ve had on my TBR list for some time. For now though I’m most looking forward to reading something a bit lighter.