Candido (Magill's Literary Annual 1980)
Sciascia’s Candido: Or, A Dream Dreamed in Sicily reflects the disillusionment and despair that man experiences in the process of trying to live a meaningful life. Like his great progenitor Voltaire, Sciascia re-creates a situation for discovery. Candido’s surreal growth to manhood shows the universe (Sicily) regularly and horribly malfunctioning at all levels. This disease appears in the family, church, and government. Everywhere dishonesty, misery, and injustice rule. Sciascia asks many of Voltaire’s questions and sheds a twentieth century view on them. He asks, man, are you for real? How do I live my life? How do I find essence in my existence? These questions are answered as the absurdity of the universe, in which Candido lives, becomes apparent.
Candido’s experience in the family unit is rocky and barren. He is born amidst man-made catastrophe—bombardment; his father, Francesco Munafò, a lawyer, miraculously escapes destruction. As he revels in his escape, he is struck by the virtue of the words candid, white, and pure; he feels reborn, and in the light of the shattering experience he names his son Candido.
Candido’s mother is no pillar in the family structure. She even refuses to breast-feed him, “unlike all mothers in that period.” Then she proceeds to fall in love with an American Captain, John Hamlet Dykes. Incredibly, Munafò begins to believe Candido is Hamlet’s son, even though the child is born about...
(The entire section is 1686 words.)
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