"Blind Argus" by Gesualdo Bufalino

This book came highly recommended to me and I am glad I'm read it. Up until just recently, I had never heard of this author but after reading this I am eager to read more of his work. "Blind Argus" is a highly baroque novel, it's prose style highly literary and poetic. Because of this, it's not a "quick read". The reader savors the author's prose style throughout. It is certainly a highly ambitious novel which works on all levels.
It is a story about a schoolteacher who is dying in Rome who looks back at a time in his life---the summer of 1951 in a small town in Sicily---where he felt he was at his most happy, in love with one of his students, the 18 year old Maria Venera. Throughout the story he pines away for her, obsessed with the young student's beauty. He is briefly shaken when he learns that she had become pregnant by another man and she asks him to help her get an abortion. Though still obsessed with her, he briefly has an affair with a discarded mistress of a ninety-something Don who lives in a dilapidated palazzo. Still, he can't stop obsessing over his beloved Maria Venera, who eventually runs off with a French filmmaker. It is only then he realizes his folly, his "play-act love".
It is Bufalino's highly skilled prose style which keeps the reader engaged throughout. He is definitely an author I would highly recommend, especially to those who really enjoy highly literate fiction. There aren't many writers around today who can write like this.
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