Natalia Ginzburg’s “The Dry Heart”

Merve Emre at Public Books:

Reading The Dry Heart is like listening to a person confess in half-truths. The second time the narrator revisits killing Alberto, she describes how she prepared him a thermos of tea with milk and sugar before pulling his revolver out of his desk. The third time, she reveals that he was packing his bags for a trip; that she suspected he was not traveling alone; and that when she told him she would “rather know the truth, whatever it may be,” he replied by misquoting Dante’s Purgatorio: “She seeketh Truth, which is so dear / As knoweth he who life for her refuses.”1 The final time, he laughs at her before she pulls the trigger.

We learn that husband and wife have played out their good-bye many times before, never getting any closer to the truth, suspended in a purgatory of weakness, indecision, loneliness, and self-deception. Alberto often leaves on holidays with his lover, Giovanna, but always returns.

more here.