(From the publisher):
The story of Francesco Merighi, a journalist, who, to escape a disintegrating marriage, has become a foreign correspondent, spending most of his time out of Italy and traveling abroad. During these ten years, he has continued to share the same apartment with his wife Cora and his stepdaughter Baba but has hardly seen or spoken to either of them. When the novel opens, Francesco has made one of his infrequent returns to Rome and has just discovered, through an anonymous letter, that his wife, who has a dressmaking shop, allegedly has a second profession, that of a procuress. He also learns that she had once tried to induce her then fourteen-year-old daughter into her business. Baba is now twenty, and Francesco finds that his own feelings for her are, or could become, incestuous.
For a long time Francesco has been obsessed by a desire to write a novel, and he decides to note in a dairy the events of his life with Cora and his inclinations toward Baba; the diary will eventually serve as the raw material of the novel. It does not take long for Francesco to understand that a writer inevitably changes facts and corrects the truth and that even a simple record of life - such as the journal he is keeping - is impossible: an artist always projects himself into his narrative and substitutes fictional truth for objective reporting. So, as we read, the "truth" about Francesco and Cora and Baba turns out to be an unfolding and changing truth; it is not until the book ends that we can safely say, "This is what they were really like; this is what they really did," and even then a question lingers in the mind.
Original title: L'Attenzione
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Literary Fiction/classics