REVIEW by Willard Manus
old nickname is La Superba. You can interpret the name in two different
ways and you understand this best when you approach the city from the
south, across the sea. All of a sudden there she is: a beautiful piece
of scenery with towering palazzi in a mountain basin. But while you are
enjoying it, you realize that the pomp and glory form an impenetrable
wall. She is beautiful and heartless. Shes a whore who beckons but
whom you can never make your own. She is alluring and reckless. She seduces
and destroys. Like the rats lured into traps with poison that tastes like
honey. In that sense, Genoa, La Superba, symbolizes Europe as a whole.
Behind her wall of impenetrable walls of border checks, asylum procedures,
investigators, and forced expulsions, she lies there showing off her promise
of new Mercedes and BMWs. Anyone managing to force their way in takes
this as reason enough to believe theyve achieved their dream. Theyre
in paradise. The rest will follow as a matter of course. And then theyll
wither away in a leaky two-room apartment with eleven of their countrymen
and be exterminated like a rat.
in LA SUPERBA is episodic and picaresque. Black comedy abounds, commencing
when Pfeijffer (a famous poet in his own country who has opted to live
anonymously in Genoa) finds a sawn-off womans leg in a garbage bin.
He takes the leg home (for what he believes are valid reasons) and freezes
it. Soon after that, he falls in love with The Most Beautiful Woman in
Genoa (a waitress), gets involved in a shady scheme to buy a theater and
direct a play about emigration. He also befriends a Moroccan beggar who,
although he has a temporary residence permit, is unable to find legal
work in Genoa and must scrounge for a living along with the thousands
of other Moroccans and Senegalese who have washed up here.