A young man spends a few days (or weeks, or months) at the house of a rich, conventional and conservative Milanese family. He’s a handsome, nice, polite, sensitive guy. He apparently is very quiet and harmless and yet, once he’s gone, the family’s very existence is turned upside down - they are forever emotionally, sexually, culturally and morally changed, maybe even transfigured.
Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote this book and directed a movie with the same title. However neither the movie is based on the book nor the other way around. They were written at the same time: two sides of the same coin, or - like the author himself likes to say - two plates of the same diptych. Was Pasolini a genius, you might be wondering? Oh yeah, he was.
This is a very unorthodox book. Is it a story? Well, yeah, but…Is it prose? Well, yeah, but…Is there a timeline? Well, yeah, but…Is there a location? Well, yeah, but…
Religious and political references abound. The family members can’t cope with their petty capitalist lifestyle anymore, each one reacting their own way, while their humble housemaid will become some kind of a rural holy figure.
I guess the author expected the reader of the book to watch the twin movie as well. I haven't watched it yet, but I’ll do it soon.