The Sadness of Antonioni by Frank Lentricchia

The Sadness of Antonioni
The Sadness of Antonioni | Source

The Sadness of Antonioni
by Frank Lentricchia

Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by State University of New York Press
ISBN: 1438439121 (ISBN13: 9781438439129)
edition language: English

There is nothing easy about reading a Frank Lentricchia book. At least not for me. But the novels of Frank Lentricchia offer me pleasure of the first degree. Lentricchia's personality is present on every page. Never having been a student in a class conducted by Frank Lentricchia, I am sure he is well thought of as a professor. I can imagine that his close friends would say there are none better when it comes to loyalty and good conversation. Though true to the extreme, it does not suffice to only say that Frank Lentricchia, above all else, is a very serious man. But I wouldn't cross him in this life, or your last.

Almost from the very beginning of The Sadness of Antonioni I feel Lentricchia is messing with me. Who else would have written into his novel a love interest of a renowned college professor working behind the counter at Wendy's? The result being that their love together tends to be between equals as it becomes more plain to see as the novel progresses.

When Lentricchia writes anything regarding the Mafia I believe what he is saying. His violence oozes off the page for me and I get a creepy, squirming feeling when even the always eventual harder sex begins, but that is only because of my own puritan upbringing and sheltered life for attempting for years to be and to act normal. I always feel while in the midst of reading a Lentricchia novel that I am somehow seated in his graduate class at Duke, that he is teaching me something I certainly must need to know or why would I be sitting there, and for that I always end up feeling grateful that he took the time to do so. I perpetually sense while reading him of being in the presence of this great professor. It is almost as if he is sitting again across from me at my kitchen table. And he has this intense but funny way of putting things, especially if you appreciate his wise and edgy humor which I do immensely. Much of what he says, even when he is deadly serious, is somehow comical and scary at the same time. But his heavy sadness is real as well. I know he deeply means what he says. That he believes love is as important as is a great film. And the deconstruction of both just happens to be what Lentricchia does and cannot help himself to do otherwise.

There are many ideas offered up in the course of reading this fine book. One can choose to ponder these ideas or reject them for their useless need in plot. But the entire novel is based on thought and the behavior that willfully comes from it. There are guilty parties all around, enough to fill a bakery cafe with all its desserts and drinks enough to wash them down. This book is like medicine for me, some of it makes me cringe and make faces, while most of it makes me smile and say thanks again Frank for another job well done. I personally know how hard Lentricchia works at getting things right, and for that we all should be more grateful.


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