A world of their own

We will manage our world ourselves, because it’s our world, cosa nostra. And we have to stick together to guard ourselves against outside meddlers.
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo presents to us the all (discreetly) powerful Corleone family, with all its complexity. Puzo teaches us, by example, how a Godfather/a Don is made, what are the rites of passage and how every man has his own destiny, even if they deny it to themselves, even if a new era promises change. Besides the rich and colorful language of the New York Mafia world, which delighted this blogger, Puzo portrays beautifully how Michael grows into his father shoes, with his demeanour, the way he talks, the way he acts, the way he carries out vengeance. You can hear the command on the Vito Corleone’s voice, you can feel the iciness in Michael’s tone.

But this is not solely a man’s world, the Italian Mamma is not forgotten “You’re a very nice girl, you gotta nice legs, but you no gotta much brains”. And along her, other women pop up in the story: the battered wife, the sexually frustrated, the Hollywood has-beens, the betrayed, the divorced, the in love and the naïve, women are also at odds with a new era brought about with the end of the II World War, where they are both more modern, but tied to old fashioned values.

And, with every chapter, as the reader learns of how corrupt, vengeful and bitter the post-war world is, for both man and women, the more justifiable it seems a world apart, a world with its own rules, where no good/bad deed goes unrewarded/unpunished.

COSA NOSTRA it’s our thing, our world, our rules, our culture, we live by our own morality. We live by our code of silence, OMERTÀ, and when push comes to shove we “make our bones”,  we “go to the mattresses”, we do the job, we do not deny friendship, a friend in need is a friend indeed (or is it in debt?). These are all concepts of the smartly written “The Godfather”, by Mario Puzo, but they also rings true to “The Solitude of Prime Numbers”.

There are two things you should be familiar with before beginning to read this book. These things are a) what prime numbers are; b) how leitmotif works in literature. I say this, because even though I’m quite familiar with both these concepts, in a stubborn desire for a happy ending I ignored them all throughout the 300 pages, just to have my heart broken in the end.

Alice and Mattia are scarred, and the more people want them to move on with their lives, the longer the deep wounds they have stay opened.  This pushes them to an incredible solitude, surrounded with non understanding peers and relatives, in an incomprehensible world. So when Alice and Mattia meet they are drawn to each other,  there’s familiarity in their awkwardness. Their relationship evolves, as they grow old they also grow more intimate, Alicia pushing the boundaries,  Mattia trying desperately to keep them in their place, refusing comfort. That which they have in common, in spite of their love for each other, is the one thing that it will keep them apart. Love does not heal old wounds, neither does time or distance.

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