Friday, 27 May 2016

Recycled Lenin's turning up as Pirandello's...or a Camilleri fantasy?

A curious letter from Gaia Servadio in London Review of Books suggests that Lenin statues have the capacity of making some strange transformations:

A few years ago the mayor of Porto Empedocle, the Sicilian town where Pirandello was born, was under pressure to put up a monument honouring the great playwright. But there was no money. During a trip to a ‘twinned’ town somewhere in Ukraine, the mayor noticed that many statues had been discarded on the ground; they represented a man with a bald head and slanted eyes, peculiarly similar to Pirandello’s. So he asked whether he could buy one. ‘As many as you please,’ was the answer: there was nothing to pay. The mayor couldn’t believe his luck. Thus, after a few adjustments here and there, Lenin’s stone face became Pirandello’s. And so far as I know there he now stands, on the main square of a town which not long ago voted 92 per cent for Berlusconi.

However, this story (how cool if it were true!) seems to have been concocted by the author of Montalbano thrillers, Andrea Camilleri, who is also from Porte Empedocle. Camilleri was reported to have been speculating about the Leninist provenance of the Pirandello statue to the author and journalist Stefano Malatesta back in 1997. But it is clear from the article this strange trip to Russia (transformed into the Ukraine much later) was purely in the imagination of the writer who found the Pirandello statue rather ridiculous. A pity but as they say 'Se non e' vero, e' ben trovato...'

Here's the head of the statue:

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