paradox is a book by Massimo Spiga, Italian screenwriter, cartoonist and writer who, with this title, has reached his third novel, first published with Acheron Books.
We have previously talked about other volumes of this Italian publishing house, some of our articles have dealt with it Hoe and Sword, Eternal War e Italian Way of Cooking.

It is not easy to talk about Paradox. It took me much longer than expected to complete the reading of the book and a few more weeks to decide to review it.
You may wonder why a review of a book that came out four years ago might be important, but some books understand right away that they are not destined to age.

But let's start immediately in a review sui generis of this novel.

Paradox, chronicles of an Italian suburra

As previously said Paradox is not a simple book. It was presented as a science fiction book in all respects but, as you tackle its reading, you remain dumbfounded.

At the beginning, in the first chapters, the life of the protagonist is presented in the form of a chronicle Perla, a very interesting and well-characterized female character, who takes care of her brothers and sisters and an alcoholic father. His small world is limited to a suburb of the city of Rome.
A Roman neighborhood sunk by misery, drugs and personal misfortunes. A description of a world worthy of Pier Paolo Pasolini, so vivid and raw as to rival his film "Beggar".

In this dysfunctional family, the only things that can help Perla are a book, a person and… the CUBE. The book is "Finnegan's awakening" or "Finnegans Wake”By James Joyce, the person is a clochard named Tao and finally the CUBO, an artifact that cyclically appears on the roofs of the village.

In this frame the character of Perla moves for some chapters, and this leaves us dumbfounded. We see a real world far from the science fiction we were looking for, but that explodes about halfway through the book in a way worthy of an acid trip that ended badly. Does the book really start here? Absolutely not. Before being destroyed, reality must be shown in all its littleness.

Without talking too much about the plot of the novel, and then depriving you of the pleasure of reading it, I would like to report an excerpt of the story:

"Everything has its word and this has become a thing as such. The word out of its domain, out of your laughable helplessness, out of your evident limitation. The word is a prominent public interest… the word is Dadaist"

D, the Portal Cat

Dadaism in this novel has an endemic and fundamental presence. The character who uses it, is nothing but, in my eyes, resistance. Resistance against the ugly, against the standardization of thought and the banality of life lived with eyes bowed on the present, a present whose beauty cannot be grasped, which can be evident one step away from us. Resistance to the preconceived notion of moral duties and obligations.

The paradox cube stands out on the destroyed suburra

Scattered thoughts and personal conclusions

I want to keep emphasizing that Paradox is not an easy book. If it had not already been used as the opening of the book "House of Leaves" by Mark Danielewski, this book could easily have opened with the phrase: "This is not for you".

While reading, especially in the first chapters, I had serious difficulties in understanding the meaning, and the will, of what the author wanted to convey to us. In more than a moment I wondered if Massimo Spiga he wasn't making fun of us or playing.

When the acid atmospheres of Grant Morrison mingle with the anarchist ones of Peter Lamborn Wilson, in a game never attempted before in an Italian book, at least until yesterday (2016), then everything has become clearer and clearer.

Some stories within the novel, such as references to the G8 in Genoa, may seem forced. But the author's task, in addition to telling us the story, is to show part of his own self, also exposed through the skilful use of the Dadaist current, which we remember being born in opposition to war and militarism in a historical context of world conflict.

Personally, I recommend reading this novel, especially if you are a lover of Morrison and other kinds of trip that ended badly.
You can find the volume, both in paper and digital format, at this address.

Remember to trust.
Do not be discouraged by the fact that the author was complicit in having written and published a profoundly "political" book, and always remember that science fiction has always been political, and especially when it wanted to be attacked, politicizing it.
Remember that the author certainly played, but he played with us and for us.