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When the Night by Cristina Comencini
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When the Night

by Cristina Comencini

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Italian (3)  English (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All (7)
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Powerful, moving, tense love story set in the Italian/Austrian Alps. Marina is a new mother who is afraid and incapable. Knowing she makes her husband afraid because of her anxiety, she takes her toddler son, Marco, on a one-month vacation in the mountains, renting the apartment above Manfred, a mountain guide. Manfred has women issues since his mother abandoned him and his two brothers – or so he believes. His wife has left him after he struck her, taking their children. He thinks he can do just fine on his own.

When Marina arrives, she upsets his life and inserts herself into his family’s broken circle. More enemies than lovers, the two of them mentally fight each other, yet must acknowledge their common desire when Manfred, seriously injured in a fall into a crevasse, is kissed by Marina. He grabs her hand saying “Don’t leave me,”and “Don’t leave the boy.” But she does, returning home to her husband Mario.

Fifteen years pass, their lives move on but buried in Marina is the desire to see Manfred again, the only man she feels understands her and is not afraid of her anger. Their second meeting is frustrating and unsatisfactory after an awkward sexual coupling, and Marina leaves the next day for home. There she stays, determined that if he wants her, he will have to come for her.

Longing, loneliness, dysfunction, and passionate desire are moods that dominate the novel. Raw human emotion and pain contrasts sharply with disinterested and changeless Nature, its mountains, cold, and storms. Comencini’s technique of unfolding their story through internal dialogue and minimal actual dialogue heightens the intensity of feeling, isolation, and desperation. She creates a memorable portrait of two people who are caged within their frightened and unforgiving shells and who struggle to break free and find their best approximation of love. A beautiful novel that will linger in my memory a long time. ( )
  Limelite | Dec 21, 2012 |
This is a different kind of novel, more of a character study, the inner dialogue of two flawed people. The writing is addictive, the story flows seamlessly. It is a quiet novel about two people who because of past experiences, mistakes and one terrible night when they share a profound experience become bounded together almost against their will. This is a novel about overcoming a past in order to grab on to a future and how circumstances can cause people to settle for what they have whether it is right for them or not. The book ended rather abruptly and usually I am the kind of reader that likes definitive endings but when I thought back over the novel and what I had discerned about these characters it was actually very fitting. ( )
  Beamis12 | Jan 15, 2012 |
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Typisch Frau, sich etwas zu erträumen, das man nicht haben kann.
Ihm bist du egal, er lebt sein Leben.
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Manfred, a surly mountaineer recently abandoned by his wife, rents the upstairs apartment in his home in the Dolomites to Marina, a woman from the city, and her difficult young son. Deeply suspicious by nature, especially of women, Manfred spies obsessively on Marina, in whose shortcomings as a mother he finds resonances of his own mother's desertion of him in childhood. When Marina's frustration over her son's refusal to eat or sleep leads her to harm the child, Manfred steps in, and the silent power struggle between them escalates. Yet Manfred's attraction to Marina is as powerful as his distrust. In this alternately shocking and moving novel, Cristina Comencini has created a complex, psychologically profound portrait of two damaged, vulnerable people and the painful bond that develops between them as they are drawn into each other's worlds.… (more)

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