A novel in three layers
Un romanzo in tre strati
“The decomposing physical texture of the Florentine past here reminds me of the theory regarding strati, layers, of historical reality, as set out by Andrea Tacossa, who taught in Florence in the 1970s. He said that it was quite possible to treat, for instance, three different periods in the history of a city as distinct entities in themselves, with their own rules, characters and themes. However, since these three strati in fact all concerned the same place, they were bound to be heavily interconnected… The end result would be the demolition of any sense of reality in the text, but, Tacossa argued, the realisation in the student’s mind that behind all the layers and inter-bleeding there was an objective reality which could never be fully revealed to the necessarily limited gaze of the human mind”.
“I have in my mind the idea of creating a work of art – contemporary art, of course, since I am a contemporary person. It would consist of four discs mounted symmetrically in front of each other so that they shared the same hub. The first disc, at the back, would be covered with artefacts from the everyday life I have been leading in Florence. Caffè receipts, museum tickets, stubs and leaflets. My rather worn street plan of the city centre. The odd paper napkin from a pasticceria. Postcards, perhaps. Newspapers. Corks from the bottles of red wine I have drunk. I am picturing it having a five or six-foot diameter. In front of it, leaving enough of a gap so that you could see that the first disc continues underneath, would be the smaller second disc. This would be covered with photocopied pages from Il fachiro di Firenze, with pictures of historical scenes from the period, 15th century manuscripts, portraits of some of the historical characters mentioned in Diacono’s book. The third disc would be images reflecting the world of the Perantulo stories, engravings of mountains and mysterious ancient cities. The central disc, just a foot across maybe, would simply be gilded. The Florentine sun”.
“Know this, Ankya, that even if I were an invented character presented by a fictional story-teller in an account that was itself a mere fabrication-within-a-fabrication, my words could contain more truth than a lifetime of proven facts listed by someone whose solid physical existence was completely beyond dispute!”
The Fakir of Florence: A novel in three layers
by Paul Cudenec
Winter Oak Press, Sussex, England, 2016
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