Lamberto Lamberto Lamberto Synopsis
A modern fable for children and adults: a story of one man’s quest for eternal life and how finds it in the most extraordinary of ways—in the grand tradition of Saint-Exúpery’s The Little Prince.
When we first meet Baron Lamberto, he is very rich and very ill. He owns twenty-six banks and has been diagnosed with twenty-six deadly ailments: only his butler Anselmo remembers them all. On the advice of an Egyptian sage, Lamberto hires an army of servants to repeat his name over and over and over. It’s a recipe, he’s told, for eternal life…. Surprisingly, it works.
But Lamberto’s newfound youth is put at risk when a terrorist group lays siege to his private island in the mountains near Lake Orta. The Baron’s army of bank directors are held hostage, and an international media spectacle is born. Lamberto becomes the first casualty.
Based on the true-life terrorism of the Colombian M19. movement and the Red Brigades’ kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto is an adroit, witty, and poignant reflection on what happens when terrorism strikes. There are things, writes Rodari, “that only happen once.” In fact, “there are things that only happen in fairytales.” (Amazon)
Translated from the original Italian by Antony Shugaar
Regular readers of this blog will know how I can be captured by the charming and the quirky. Gianni Rodari’s Lamberto Lamberto Lamberto ticked all those boxes and more.
In addition to a charm and sense of whimsy reminiscent of The Matchmaker of Perigord, Rodari dials up the fantastical behaviours of his characters to farcical levels.
Lamberto Lamberto Lamberto by Gianni Rodari is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
From the charm of the relationship between Lord Lamberto and his butler Anselmo (who always carries an umbrella) through to the side-splitting descriptions of the team of bankers and ensuing media spectacle, this tale is pure merriment – for the reader, and it seems at times, also for the author.
“You have to admit, Anselmo,” he complains, “you can’t hear the capital L.”
“Unfortunately, Your Lordship, there doesn’t seem to be a way of pronouncing upper-case letters differently from lower-case letters. Spoken Italian does have its shortcomings.”
“I understand, but it’s troublesome, Anselmo. The ‘L’ that begins my name sounds no different from the ‘l’ that begins leech, lizard, and lollipop. It’s dispiriting. I have to wonder how the great Napoleon was able to tolerate the fact that the very same ‘N’ that began his imperial first name shared the initial sound of nambypamby, natter, and nosehair.”
Much of the wry banter relates to plays on numbers, words and speech, and for this reason, this English translation of Gianni Rodari’s Lamberto Lamberto Lamberto by Antony Shugaar is all the more impressive. This newly released English translation also contains comical illustrations by Federico Maggioni that add something special.
Although Gianni Rodari’s Lamberto Lamberto Lamberto is a fable that is accessible to the young, there is considerably more value for the adult reader, or as I like to think of it, the young at heart.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5
Genre: Humour, Drama, Historical, Literature
Author Information: Gianni Rodari (1920 – 1980) was an Italian writer and journalist, most famous for his books for children. He won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1970 and is considered by many to be Italy’s most important twentieth-century children’s author. His books have been translated into many languages, though few have been published in English. (Wikipedia)