International Journal of Literary Culture / Internationale Zeitschrift für literarische Kultur
Ed. by Biti, Vladimir / Liska, Vivian
CiteScore 2017: 0.10
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.124
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.191
Mario Domenichelli’s Lugemalé: Heart of Darknesss revisited in Post-colonial Italy
Mario Domenichelli’s novel Lugemalé is set in the late 1980s and early 2000s, between Rome and Somalia. The book follows the narrator,Valerio, as he reads, in the early 2000s in Rome, the typescript of a novel written by a friend, Tomas, before his mysterious death in Mogadishu. Tomas’ novel describes the events which took place in 1989 at the end of the Siad Barre regime, when Italy was still committed to fulfilling its responsibilities as an ex-colonial power, through major projects of cooperative development. Both Valerio and Tomas were employed by the Italian government’s Development Cooperation Agency as lecturers at the University of Mogadishu. In his narration, Tomas merges his own experiences with Valerio’s, through the main characters of Gigi and Marco. In a complex play of mirrors (a novel within a novel, a reading of a tale within the tale of a reading) that reveals the ambiguities and contradictions of both characters, Lugemalé is merciless in its judgment of the generation of Europeans who became the ruling class of the 1980s. Such a post-colonial adventure offers a powerfully alienating perspective for the representation, post res perditas, of the vanishing of that class’s commitment to changing the status quo and breaking with a capitalist society based on the most depraved and egoistic consumerism.