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Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi
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Quiet Chaos (original 2006; edition 2011)

by Sandro Veronesi

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4972220,537 (3.61)18
Member:dylanwolf
Title:Quiet Chaos
Authors:Sandro Veronesi
Info:ECCO Press,U.S. (2011), Edition: Org Tra, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:SMI - ZWI
Rating:
Tags:Italy, tbr

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Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi (2006)

  1. 00
    The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Both original and intriguing stories about loss and grieving.
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Dutch (9)  English (8)  Italian (3)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Quiet Chaos is a deeply structured though linear novel. A McEwanesque opening drama involving the simultaneous dramatic rescue of two drowning women even as, unbeknownst to one of the rescuers, Pietro, his own wife is dying of an aneurysm back at their cottage, gives way to the now bereaved father deciding to forego his important job in a large corporation in order to wait patiently in a park immediately across from his 10 year old daughter’s school. He waits throughout the day and then repeats his action the following day and again and again. In the process he becomes a centre of calm in the chaotic swirl of life and business that might otherwise overwhelm him and young Claudia. At first it is just something personal, or perhaps directly solely at Claudia. But later it becomes a form of refuge. From his work, which is fracturing under the stress of a global merger. From his personal relations. From his own thoughts and feeling, perhaps.

Pietro’s station in the park opposite the school, however, also becomes a stopping point for others, troubled or sorrowful. A succession of work colleagues, relations, even strangers, come to him to unburden themselves. He listens, mostly in silence, and for the most part does not judge. But like a saint of olden days his hermit-like existence is threatened by his increasing notoriety, both locally and within his company. Pietro does his best to discount the gossip and the speculation and concentrate instead on being there, literally being there, for his daughter. But eventually this daily cycle must reach an end. Whether that will happen before Pietro has completed his grieving process is part of the drama of the ending.

The writing here is thoughtful, full of rumination and exculpation. The characters are sometimes caricatures, thin types exploited for specific effect. And although Pietro, for the most part, stays in one place, this has the picaresque feel of a road story. You will either find it deeply affecting or mawkish — there is a thin line between them. For me, it worked sufficiently well. Enough at least to recommend it. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Mar 25, 2015 |
I abandoned this one after about 100 pages. That's pretty unusual; normally if I get past page 30 or so, I like something about the work enough to read the entire thing. But here, the narrative was too annoying. The author was replicating the chaos and emotional turmoil through the craft on the page. After a time, it was simply wearing. It kept me too distanced from the characters, oddly enough, because it was meant to take me deeper into that world. ( )
  Laine-Cunningham | Feb 22, 2015 |
'Quiet Chaos'. I really loved the premise of this book. After the death of his wife, Pietro Paladini decides to spend his days next to the school of his daughter Claudia. It starts out as a joke, but turns into a very serious desire to stay there. Subsequently, Pietro's family and colleagues start showing up, and they show themselves to be very open-hearted.

A lot can be said about Pietro Paladini. Some readers can't stand his behaviour, apparently. This is where the book becomes a matter of opinion. Is Pietro really suffering, or is he just an inconsiderate Italian macho who just happens to find himself in a situation that requires some emotional capabilities? I would personally have preferred the latter, and I feel as if Veronesi did as well. You can say his decision to take a break from his own life and guard his daughter's school is a result of trauma, and I'm sure you'd find arguments to back that statement. (Freud, bla bla bla, detachment, the usual.) I don't want to believe it though! Not every protagonist has to be perfect.

Whichever version you prefer, it doesn't really matter much when you read the final pages. The end shows Veronesi's true intentions, but whether that's a good or a bad thing, I'm not sure. I felt as if this book had some fantastic passages, but didn't really succeed to come across as a whole. Apart from these small inconsistencies; some great writing here, and definitely worth your time. ( )
  WorldInColour | Oct 12, 2013 |
This is the third book by Veronesi I've read and it's the third one that ended up on my list of favourites. What's even more surprising is that they're all very different and I'm not able to choose a "favourite of favourites".
Quiet Chaos starts with the main character Pietro Paladini and his brother rescueing two women from drowning while Pietro's wife dies of an aneurysma. In order to protect his 10-year old daughter from grief, he decides to stay near her all day when she starts school again. The next day he decides to wait before her school again. What starts as a temporary measure, becomes a habit and Pietro Paladini stays there for months on end. While waiting there, Paladini gets to know the people in the neighbourhood. His colleagues, friends and family come to visit, ask advice, quarrel, share their problems. While the world is moving on, Pietro stays in front of the school and sees the world pass by.
I really like the mix of deep, fragile, poetic insights with the mild and absurd humour, the way in which Veronesi portrays his characters and the ease with which he's able to convey feelings of loss, tenderness, despair, love, empathy.
Needless to say, this one is highly recommended ( )
  JustJoey4 | Jun 13, 2012 |
Doeschka Meijsing vatte het werk van Veronesi verrassend goed samen: 'Hij is geestig, luchtig over de meest bezwarende dingen, houdt zich maar met moeite staande.'
Misschien is dat de essentie van literatuur die ik mooi vind: geestig, luchtig, zich met moeite staande houdend.
De succesvolle zakenman Pietro Paladini heeft een onvergetelijke surfervaring: hij voelt zich weer even kind, spelend in de golven met zijn broer. Daarna wordt het nog onvergetelijker, als hij een vrouw van de verdrinkingsdood redt. En net als je denkt dat het niet beter kan...
De ironie van het leven, de onmogelijke mogelijkheden van de werkelijkheid, die grijpt Veronesi bij de kladden.
De onvergetelijkste passage is die waarin de schoonzus van Paladini zich beklaagt, nee, woedend wordt over 'jullie':
'Zijn jullie weer begonnen,' zei ze, en ging weer huilen.
'Waarmee?'
'Om niet meer te glimlachen.'
'Over wie heb je het?'
'Over jullie, de mensen. Iedereen.'
De mensen zijn opgehouden te glimlachen wanneer haar kinderen 4 werden. Daarvoor glimlachten ze naar moeder en kind, samen op pad: '..., ze glimlachen naar wat je samen bent (...) en je raakt eraan gewend dat je erover kunt beschikken, je begint te denken dat, hoe chaotisch je leven ook is, jou in de buitenwereld, wanneer je met hem bent, de brede glimlach wacht, de energie, dat stelt je gerust.'
Ah, die observatie. Het vermogen dat zó raak op papier te zetten. En zo is bijna het hele boek. Wat zeg ik, zo is bijna Veronesi's hele werk.
  Lotoverboeken | Feb 2, 2012 |
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"On the shores of the Mediterranean, exhausted from an afternoon of surfing, Pietro Paladini is shaken out of his stupor by a distant noise. 'Over there!' he cries to his brother, Carlo, sunning beside him. 'Over there!' So begins the adventure that will tear a hole in Pietro's life. For while he and his brother struggle to save two drowning swimmers, a tragedy is unfolding down the road at his summer cottage. Instead of coming home to a hero's welcome, Pietro is greeted by the flashing lights of an ambulance, the wide-eyed stare of his young daughter, Claudia, and the terrible news that his fiancée, Lara, is dead. Life must go on. Or does it? Pietro, a true iconoclast, has to find his own way. When he drops Claudia off for the first day of school, he decides to wait for her all day, and then every day. To protect her. To protect himself. To wait for the heavy fist of grief to strike. But as the days and weeks go by, the small parking lot in front of the school becomes his refuge from the world as well as the place where family and colleagues come to relive their own suffering..."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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