Confessions of Zeno Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Confessions of Zeno

Zeno, an unsuccessful businessman with very high self-regard living in Trieste (eastern edge of Italy) in the first couple decades of the Twentieth century, is in therapy and decides to write down his memories. He talks about dithering between chemistry and law in school, his unending attempts to have "one last cigarette," his affairs, his marriage to the third of the sisters he asked to wed him, and the disastrous business he went into with a brother-in-law. His tale is obsessive, whiny, self-deluding, and often amusing, though with a decidedly depressing bent. Published in Italian in 1923 and first translated into English in 1930, this book occasionally reminds one mildly of Catch-22: "I was ready to accept insults readily, so long as they were accompanied by an affection that I knew I did not deserve"; and, of the hero and his wife: "Was not our mutual indifference demonstrated by the existence of the children we both produced so regularly?"
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of Confessions of Zeno

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   seduction (yum!) Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Italian Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   midlife crisis    -   eccentric nature Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Battle with a psychiatrist    -   Yes Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Lover is    -   of a different social class Married, fooling around?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   small businessman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Italian


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Italy City?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Italo Svevo Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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