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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
In Guglielmo D’Izzia’s novel The Transaction, the protagonist narrates his own story in a semi-hypnotic voice, describing his Kafkaesque venture into a remote Sicilian village, presumably as an agent to purchase a property. It’s a rough trip described in minute detail by a voice without a backstory. We evaluate him strictly by his observations and reactions which are often blurred by his illnesses and wounds. He shows us the village and its people, gets attacked by wild dogs, has some arguments, and suffers from the provincial prejudice toward strangers. The owner of the property is mysteriously killed, and our protagonist attends the funeral and develops an unexplained connection with the murdered man’s eleven-year-old daughter. The narrator is continually warned to leave but persists even after it’s evident the transaction will not go through. Apparently, the novel’s title refers to another kind of transaction, e.g., a stranger’s engagement with uninviting country folk.
If it is true that works of art last for generations because of their ambiguities, The Transaction should last for centuries. I was left with the sensation of what happened? and that’s not a bad thing in literature. I sensed engagement with something beyond the narrator’s minutely detailed descriptions as if it might be a dream. I kept reading. Guglielmo D’Izzia is a skilled, disciplined artist refusing to give the reader clarity of meaning and motivation. He makes us interpret, and we readers of great literature value our own involvement in a piece. Something intriguing is going on here, and few of us will see it in the same way. I can just imagine the discussions around seminar tables. We learn more from what is not said, than from what is. And I say, bravo!