dharma_bum wrote: I found Svevo a completely unreliable narrator. You see occasional glimpses of reality that show a different Svevo from the man he gives the reader when the book shifts to other character’s perceptions. In the last pages of the book, as witnessed by Arturo, Svevo acts deferential to a fault, calling the lover he supposedly made weep with his sexual prowess, “Mrs. Hildegarde.” She, in turn, treats him with complete condescension as if he was nothing more than a faceless servant. And while this may be the necessary public face of their relationship, I find it unlikely that their private moments had the shift in power Svevo describes. Maria’s reaction to the affair made me think that it was not his first, but the first to bring her public shame.
Interesting observations, Db! I would agree with you about the difference in their narration, although I had not picked up on that nuance. I'm not sure I agree in regard to Maria, though. I just don't think she really thought he'd ever have an affair. I think that is part of why she reacted the way she did.