"The rules of the game. Wasn't there a play of the same name by the above-mentioned Pirandello?"That's from Andrea Camilleri's The Paper Moon, and, if memory serves me well, it's not the only time Camilleri mentions Pirandello. The two were born fifty-eight years apart in the same area of southwestern Sicily, Pirandello in Grigenti (Agrigento), Camilleri in Agrigento's port, Porto Empedocle (which appears under the name Vigàta in Camilleri's Montalbano novels). By various accounts, Pirandello knew Camilleri's grandparents or parents or was even a distant relative.
The mention may also be of thematic interest. Pirandello "is always preoccupied with the problem of identity," and so, in The Paper Moon, is Camilleri's Salvo Montalbano:
He knocked a third time. Still nothing. He turned around, cursing, and was about to descend the stairs when he heard a woman's voice call from inside the apartment.or
"Who is it?"
This question is not always so easy to answer. First of all, because it may happen that the person who's supposed to reply is caught at a moment of identity loss and, second, because saying who one is doesn't always facilitate things.
"Administration," he said.
The theme was: During an investigation, does a real policeman take notes or not?I've also seen Montalbano's favorite olive tree referred to as a Pirandellian element. I haven't read or seen Pirandello's work except in parodies, but it interested me that a playwright and novelist so well-known for his avant-garde narrative technique could be so rooted in his native soil. But then Italo Calvino, that creator of fantastic meta-narratives and member of the Oulipo group, also compiled a pioneering collection of Italian folk tales.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009