THE NEW LINE by Mario Pomilio


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Although at first glance Mario Pomilio's parable of a totalitarian state would seem to resemble Orwell, its true substance derives more from Kafka's elegant obscurity and Ionesco's avant-garde vaudeville. And as such The New Line follows not only an old theme but makes use of old hands as well. Signor Pomilio's tale takes place in one village of an imaginary one-party domain and rests on a sort of one-act allegorical gimmick: by an inexplicable fluke the official newspaper one fine morning announces the dissolution of the Party, the System, the Bureaucrats and the restoration of Freedom-As-Before. How this ""new revolution"" affects the robot-like lives of all those concerned, how they respond to the challenge of an ""archaic instinct"", and how much blood spills the next day when the type-set is corrected -- all this makes for scenes and characters sometimes amusing, sometimes horrifying, often full of fustian frenzy and as often empty as air. Emilio, the news vendor, is a touching Everyman; the doctor and governor frightening buffoons, each locked in abstracts over race and law. Neatly translated from the Italian, Line always leads to seriously funny political commentary; however, to really travel it should have veered towards the profoundly comic instead.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1961
Publisher: Harper