Nonino International Prize 1990

Erik Orsenna

“Comic opera” and “comic novel” of high intellectual acrobatics moved bi an inexhaustible and unpredictable narrative verve, by an extended and overflowing image but, at the same time, easily    controlled, strengthened by an omnipresent humor and by a gushing and irresistible grotesque drive,  “L’esposizione coloniale” traces a wide fresco as a paradoxical and lunar performance of the  phenomenology of the French conscience in the decades that go through the two world wars until the decolonization. A long “caprice” that enriches the contemporary French narrative scene, also with the creative wave of the language.

In the vicissitudes of Gabriel Orsenna, pneumologist and erotomaniac, spotless, incongruous and happy bigamist who lives the passage from the age of natural rubber to the synthetic one (and, at the same time, the shift of the positivist axis towards Freudian enigmas), in the continuous succession of the serious-comic adventures of the clownish rubber man bumping from Brazil to Indochina, the author stages a faceted satirical allegory of the transformation and change of the society of the first half of this century, portrayed in the meanders and neurotic obsessions and in the turns and vital pulses of his ironic protagonist, puppet like and round “enfant du siècle”.