“The picture of a writer, the novel of a painter”

From “Frammenti di sogni” blog – by Lavinia Dafne.

“Green-haired Demetrio” of the talented writer Marco Mazzanti, edited by Edizioni Eiffel, it is a Pictorial Novel. The novel of a painter and the picture of a writer. I don’t think I exaggerate saying that this book would be worth dominating rankings of local and foreign bestsellers and in few lines I will try to explain why. Demetrio, who could remember the movie of 1948 “Green-haired Boy” by Joseph Losey, is the character around whom it draws the plot. He draws, he doesn’t build because the novel is full of colors, deep feelings and its descriptions are delicate and deep brush strokes at the same time.

The marginalization and the sense of not belonging to any “where” is expressed in a character of elsewhere, not only mysterious but “mystery”, who like “the elected children of myth” he does not know his roots but he bears the mark on his body, a lithe body like an ash tree, the body of a woods being, an elf or a goblin but even more a male hamadryad, a spirit of trees whose green foliage is in the center of its isolation and its beauty. The colors are not accidental brush strokes: “brown like the Baltic resin” (quote), restless and wide-open upon a world that he fears and yearns, Demetrio’s eyes seem to peal as fixed epithet which describes them like the turgid resin of trunks, like the tears of this young in search of himself and somebody to whom associate his fate. All the characters have a deep and varied humanity, you grow attached to them, you feel them to live and think, you see them but then, as in life, they go and Demetrio let go of them and goes on alone, as each of us.

In two parts of the novel, every story is a story of pain and remorse, personal marginalization and a sense of discomfort and inadequacy joins Demetrio, symbol of this variety, to those whom he ends up to bind: Greta, Charlotte, Jean Marcel, Sister Margherita and Dodo. But the women of DeMì are only two, Roze and Margherita. Two names of Flowers! Demetrio knows some “weird” words but he does not know where they come from; he sees places where he has never been but he does not know how and why. He shines with the light of “Shinto” which animates him and flows in him.

The symbolism, never heavy and overmuch, leads the reader towards the world of inner upheaval and nostalgic bitterness, a bit mysterious and evanescent, a world of this woody creature, blood in its concreteness.

Mazzanti has created a work of fantastic genre, not a fantasy, which interweaves with fairy tale and drama that it seems to draws its inspiration from the great Russian narrative and from ambiguous and seductive atmosphere of “The picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

They leak out elements of “ magic realism”, dear to the writer, elements of surrealism , allegory but in a book of training which tells of the aching desire for love and understanding, for sharing and friendship of a bright soul but alone for its diversity. The novel of Demetrio does not escape the reality but immerse himself in it and changes its nuances as to turn of a magical kaleidoscope.

Mazzanti has indicated a new direction to Italian fantasy genre, a way that I think it is the winning bet for new generations of writers who do not want to return to “already read” but they have to know to dare and experiment in order to show that also fantastic literature can face committed and hard themes and it is able to touch the deepest chords of the soul.

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