Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Along with Tommao Landolfi and Italo Calvino, Buzzati is considered one of the master fantasists of twentieth century Italian literature. Buzzati, however, does not abandon realism completely in his stories; he combines realistic with fantastic elements to create a world that seems oddly familiar and strange at the same time. Everything in “The Falling Girl” is said so matter-of-factly, in such a controlled tone, that the fantastic element is muted somewhat. The reader does not question how a falling girl can dramatically age as she falls, or how she can engage in conversations at certain balconies. The rather plain, journalistic prose provides some sure footing for the reader, and also works in counterpoint with the bizarre, stranger-than-life plot.

The story achieves its effect by dramatically slowing down the events in the story, freezing the frames, then letting them roll again. Most authors condense time in their stories, abbreviating events and long passages of time; Buzzati, however, slows time down, lets the free-falling girl gradually become aware of her plight, lets her mood swing from elation to despair in slow steps.

Buzzati also implicates the reader in his story because the reader too is put into the position of being a voyeur, a witness of the girl’s dramatic flight. Like the characters in the story who watch her fall with a calm akin to callousness, the reader appreciates the pyrotechnics of the plot and receives pleasure...

(The entire section is 402 words.)