Monday 25 September 2023

Dissipatio H.G.

Finished September 21
Dissipatio H.G.: the Vanishing by Guido Morselli, translated by Frederika Randall

This novel takes us into the mind of the narrator, who appears to be the last man on earth. He is an unhappy man, and had decided to end his life by dropping into an abyss within a cave near his mountain home. But somehow his thoughts took him elsewhere and he, instead returned home. But he soon finds that the world is not as he left it. All humans have disappeared, along with whatever they were wearing at the time. Cars have crashed or sit idling, homes are empty except for any pets or farm animals, 
We watch him explore this world from looking into his neighbours homes, to venturing to the nearby city of Chrysioilis (a city reminiscent of Zurich), to train stations, airports, and hotels, looking for humanity. He wonders whether he was spared by his location, deep within the earth, and venture to a nearby mining site. He listens for radio reports, makes phone calls to distant locations, but never finds another human. 
This is a story of both wonder and sadness, of questions unanswered, and hopes unfulfilled. 
The author was ahead of his time in the themes he wrote around, and after many rejections by publishers, he committed suicide in 1973. A good friend was instrumental in getting nine of his books published after his death, including this one, and they were generally very well received. 
I found the initial passages much more readable than the more philosophical and intellectual questioning that happens towards the end of the book, but the book is an interesting exercise in possibilities. 

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