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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

All the Errors

Giorgio Manganelli

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To purchase All the Errors

Title: All the Errors
Author: Giorgio Manganelli
Genre: Stories
Written: 1986 (Eng. 1990)
Length: 158 pages
Original in: Italian
Availability: All the Errors - US
All the Errors - UK
All the Errors - Canada
Brautpaare und ähnliche Irrtümer - Deutschland
  • Italian title: Tutti gli errori
  • Translated by Henry Martin

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Our Assessment:

B : pensive, well-crafted pieces

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
World Literature Today . Spring/1991 Edouard Roditi

  From the Reviews:
  • "There are, however, philosophical implications in many of Manganelli's stories, so that these can appear, on a first reading, almost too argumentative, in fact less lyrical or fantastic than those, for instance, of Calvino or Savinio. Admirably translated, All the Errors, in spite of not always proving to be easy reading, should nevertheless appeal to an elite of American readers who can enjoy solving complex allegories." - Edouard Roditi, World Literature Today

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       All the Errors isn't your usual story collection. Manganelli isn't concerned with simple narrative or naturalism here, his story-telling sometimes focussed on episodes and events but generally adopting a tone and perspective that is alienating even as it promises closer understanding. The stories are exhaustive: carefully crafted, precise, calculated. They are also, frequently, bewildering.
       Manganelli describes, for example, The Self-awareness of the Labyrinth -- metaphysical speculation from the point of view of a labyrinth. System defines and constructs an entire world-view, beginning:

     The system consists firstly of the Fires, which, numbering from two to seven, inhabit, pervade, and characterize the central space; hence, they are also known as Essences.
       These and some of the others read like Borges-constructs grown wild -- and without a foundation in the literary or historical (as defines practically all of Borges' fictions). These are purer -- and generally more expansive -- thought-games, delineated by precise language but utterly fantastical.
       Some of the stories are, in part, more conventional, with at least the appearance of a narrative arc: Leave-taking is a farewell speech by someone about to embark on a specific journey (amusing enough in the twist of what that journey is, though it comes as no great surprise). Travelling is fundamental to many of the stories, including Betrothal (a man describing his wedding day) and, most obviously, Travel Notes. Often as not, these are as much voyages of the mind as anything else -- and not merely idle daydream-trips, but serious metaphysical voyages.
       Lovers, in which both sides try to explain their relationship (each section beginning with a variation on: "What ties me to this man ..." (or woman)), is only the most obvious in its methodology, highlighting dichotomy and symmetry, but all the stories are similarly deeply introspective and analytic, trying to get at the root of what is often ungraspable (and generally ultimately acknowledged as such). It's no surprise to find an ending -- if not quite conclusion -- such as (here to Travel Notes):
I am a project and equally the groundplan of myself. I know that if I lie upon the ground I will in no way be distinct from these mnemonic, projectural signs. I am dreaming myself: as happens in dreams, I am infinitely past and infinitely future. Dead since the beginning, I am always being born. I am the project.
       These meditations and speculations are often fascinating, in particular because Manganelli is so thorough. Clearly, however, such stories are of limited appeal: readers should be well aware of what they're getting themselves into here. Fascinating worlds, but not easy to get into.

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All the Errors: Other books by Giorgio Manganelli under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Italian author Giorgio Manganelli lived 1922 to 1990.

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