Ten years have passed since a little-known author left us but, according to this small work, he really was someone talented: Nicola Pugliese (Milan, 1944 - Avella, 2012). The curious thing is that his only novel, barely one hundred and fifty pages, Aguamala , was published in 1977 with remarkable acceptance, and yet, apparently, the author himself refused to allow the book to be reprinted until after his death.
The text had had an exceptional godfather, since it had been recommended to be published by Italo Calvino, at that time an advisor to the Einaudi publishing house; although it is also rumored that Pugliese did not ask the publisher for a new reprint in the best way, or perhaps he did not agree to apply some changes to the pages that were suggested to him, and the novel was blocked when the first edition was sold out.
In any case, Calvino was not wrong to bet on him: Malacqua (its original Italian title), and indeed, in 2013, once Pugliese died, he was able to see that story again thanks to his brother Armando. From that moment on, the novel gained notoriety again, enjoyed a theatrical adaptation, a documentary by Giuseppe Pesce, Tutto il resto è Malacqua: la versione di Nick Pugliese , which included a long interview with the writer, and began to be translated to other languages.
It is a kind of chronicle of the four days that a persistent and destructive rain lasts in the city of Naples, which causes not only buildings to collapse and landslides that make cars disappear underground, but also interior convulsions in the soul of the various characters, whose life and even their vision of life is completely altered.
And yet, what happens to the citizens who have to live with the streets flooded with water, waiting for the rain to stop, is secondary to the protagonism of the "bad water" itself: " The wait became an exhausting disease galloping, clutching the throat and squeezing, squeezing. It came to your mind that maybe you weren't dead, but that you wouldn't live anymore, at least not like before, ”reads the beginning of the Second day. This being the case, what is fantastic is how Pugliese embodies the rain, describing its effects and actions.
Not without humor despite presenting a social fresco marked by drama, the novel follows in particular the footsteps of Carlo Andreoli, a Neapolitan journalist who watches his flooded city and wonders what will become of that place, which already arouses feelings of rejection that they had actually been gestated in the past. Perhaps similar to those that Pugliese himself had, an events writer for the Naples press, a job that he deeply disliked, as can be seen in the aforementioned documentary, having to deal with a thousand and one matters that did not appeal to him the most. minimum.
And on the other hand, the author hardly used literature to retaliate against that feeling, since he did not publish anything else, inspiring at the same time that he is now seen as a cult writer, creator of a single excellent and truly original work.