Posted on September 13, by The Untranslated This colossal book has required from its creator a colossal effort expended over almost twenty years. By the same token, anybody desiring to tackle Horcynus Orca will have to be ready to make a colossal investment in terms of both time and readerly exertion. Nothing less will suffice. Whether we want it or not, Horcynus Orca has become part of our civilisation.

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Start your review of Horcynus Orca Write a review Shelves: meer , italy Horcynus Orca is one of the longest books in history. It is also one of the most complex, which is why 40 years after its publication in Italy, it has only been translated into one other language: German. When Moshe Kahn, the translator who undertook the gargantuan feat of translating Stefano DArrigos magnum opus into German, first read Horcynus Orca, it took him 2 years.

It wasnt that his command over the Italian language was insufficient in fact, by then he had already translated a collection Horcynus Orca is one of the longest books in history.

An Italian heavily infused with Sicilian and a syntax borrowed from Greek. For the first part of the book, we are following him on a nightmarish voyage through Calabria, searching for a vessel to get him over the strait of Messina. As all civilian vessels had been destroyed in the war and the Allies are monitoring the ship traffic between Sicily and the mainland, this is a difficult task. When he finally manages to return to the island, he finds his home and his people completely changed by the war.

The plot is slow paced from the beginning, as the time frame of the book actually covers only 4 days. During this anti-climax, a group of men is standing on a rock spur, talking, mainly in long monologues and inner monologues. Therefore they all use the same language and, to a certain degree, all show the same behavior. Horrible years have erased all individuality and have left mere hulls trying to satisfy their most basic needs. As with any more challenging book, it took me a while to get used to the prose, but afterwards, it opened up like the sea that features so prominently in it.

Over the 4 months that it took me to read this beast, I often returned to it with pleasure as it offered a calm, but steady reading experience that I got completely absorbed in although there also have been occasions when I, for all the frustrations and slow progress, wanted to throw the book at the next wall.

I loved the language and there were some really great scenes in it. I had a hard time, deciphering these symbols as every time I thought I had figured them out, their meaning changed and I was lost again.

Everything in this book — from symbols to characters, from states of being to processes — has two sides and nothing can be taken at face value. There were so many and many of them had internal twists, that it seemed impossible to me to grasp and unravel them.

In a certain respect, Horcynus Orca was much like Twin Peaks. There are brilliant scenes, beautiful imagery, exceptionally crafted prose, but it leaves so many open questions. There is much room for interpretation and I would love to read some secondary literature by clever literary scholars explaining the depths of this book, but since the translation has only recently been published, none is available in German.

But I firmly believe that barely any of the critics read the whole book.


Horcynus Orca

La barca si ferma in mezzo alla corrente quando le fere si stancano, poi approda alla costa siciliana. Per prolungare il piacere del ritorno cammina fra le case, osservando i compaesani. Poco prima del suo ritorno Caitanello ha avuto un incidente scontro con una fera, denominata Manuncularais, che ha ferito con un coltellino durante una solitaria uscita in mare. I pellisquadre e i paesani temono che questo possa incattivire le fere, e Caitanello per rappresaglia decide di chiudersi in casa e rifiuta di stringere la mano ai compaesani che vorrebbero scusarsi con lui.



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