Deborah Gambetta – The Embankment


The banality of evil

The novel’s incipit tells us that the protagonist is the destroyer of his own family. a clean way to get rid, right from the start, of the straightforward news item. After having spent years as a bricklayer in his father-in-law’s company, and losing his wife’s esteem and his son’s respect, Sandro ends up working in a factory, with the inflexible rhythms dictated by machineries. The discomfort of living will push him to get a gun to silence the ghosts of his own failure.
This is The embankment. It does not matter why, where is marginal, and when is not very significant. The author’s attention is focused on the how. How can one go so adrift? How is it possible that a human being is excluded from society, slowly pushed away, and left on the verge of madness? A system which, failing to metabolize one, inexorably rejects one, until one is buried in the dilapidated shelter of one’s mind.
We are faced with a book that depicts the banality of evil. A noir written in a modern language, written in an essentially handsome Italian with a surgical precision, interwoven with skillful strokes of dialect. A story that drags the reader into a vortex where time, inside and outside of the main character, is marked by crazed watches. In the background one can see the Italian province which, despite its peculiarities, evokes the Cormac McCarthy landscapes, with precise descriptions of atmospheres of rare beauty.

Translation by Silvia Accorrà (edited by Sabrina Macchi)