Skip to content Skip to navigation

Don’t Move, by Margaret Mazzantini

Translated from the Italian by John Cullen
Reviewed by Stephen Kaye

One of Italy’s hottest female novelists tells a moving tale on a simple plot line; it nevertheless holds the reader through pages of detail that can be tiresome and easily skipped over.  She uses the devise of interior monologue which is told to the first person’s daughter.  The teller of the tale is a surgeon in what I guess is a Neapolitan hospital.  The daughter suffers an accident which is the beginning of this confessional monologue told as stream of consciousness while he waits to find out how she will emerge after a risky brain operation.

The writing is clean, sometimes over-detailed, but you are there with the first person. You don’t always get his moves.  In fact, they are pretty silly for a senior surgeon who has a reputation to protect, a family to support, and responsibilities. Maybe Italians don’t take these things so seriously…maybe we don’t either.

Love conquers all. Passion is unrestrained. 

My conclusion is that a female author’s idea of a man’s inner voice may not always be believable.  Then credulity in novels is often an issue.  My spouse reminds me that credulity is a male thing; we should not be literal or logical. Novels are about flights of fancy, so enjoy them for what they are. 

The translation is impeccable.  My only reservation was that speed was translated as miles per hour when anyone who has driven in Italy knows speedometers read kilometers per hour.