Yambo, a 60ish antiquarian bookseller in Milan, awakens from a mysterious coma to discover that he has no memory of himself. He can recall every poem, novel, or comic book he has ever read, but his wife, best friend, and daughters remain strangers to him. Although he remembers the ins and outs of the book-dealing business, his business partner, the Polish woman with whom he may have had an affair, is also a blur. In an attempt to retore his memory by spending time in familiar settings, Yambo returns to his family's home at Solara. There, he spends 8 days in the attic, reading the documents that were a vital part of his past - a past he cannot recall. He plays the records that he heard as a child, and rereads comic books put out by the Fascist government. What he reclaims, frustratingly, is not his own experience, but that of his entire generation.
Yambo discovers the poems he wrote as an adolescent, all of which mention a beautiful girl. This prompts him to interrogate his best friend, who tells him of his first love. It is only then that Yambo begins to reclaim memories that are his very own. His past mixes with the comic books he has recently read as Yambo reexperiences his adolescence as a feverish dream. But now that he has his memories, can he ever recover?
The review of this Book prepared by Miranda Tedholm
Giambattista Bodoni is a successful sixty year old rare book dealer from Milan who has lost his episodic or autobiographical memory and consequently doesn't know who he is and has no recall of any of the events of his life.
Yambo (his nickname) upon learning of his condition embarks on a quest to re-establish the events of his life. He returns to work and is troubled by his attraction to his young assistant: Sibilla. Did he sleep with her? Is she more than just his right hand woman - what does she think of him?
His wife Paola suggests that he go back to his childhood home and perhaps he will begin to remember who he is in what should be familiar surroundings. His childhood home( in Solara) is kept up by the Amalia the daughter of Yambo's Grandfathers' housekeeper. While several years older than Yambo she always doted on the young master and is thrilled that he will be staying at the Solara home. Yambo begins rummaging through all the old artifacts(books, phonographs, records, magazines, newspapers, an old Telefunken radio) attempting to piece together his early life. Meanwhile Amalia cooks extraordinarily rich meals with a great deal of salt and Yambo who has high blood pressure begins to suffer more health issues.
Then it happens - he stumbles across the name Lila. He calls his friend Gianni who tells him that he was madly in love with Lila in High School. He could do nothing for a year but dream about being with her. Gianni tries to jar his memory by telling him of certain times they shared and certain events of his High School years.
Yambo suffers a stroke and sinks into a coma. In his unconscious state he begins to regain his memory and starts to see the events of his childhood: his one wartime adventure, his philosophic conversations with his former teacher, his religious discussions with his family priest, his High School acting debut, and his first ejaculation.
The review of this Book prepared by Vincent Boscarelli