The Edge of the Horizon

Fiction

Antonio Tabucchi

Antonio Tabucchi's The Edge of the Horizon is the story of a very unimportant death. Late one night, the body of a young man is delivered to the morgue of an Italian town. The next day's newspapers report that he was killed in a police raid, and that he went by the obviously false name "Carlo Nobodi." Spino, the morgue attendant on duty at the time, becomes obsessed with tracing the identity of the corpse: "Why do you want to know about him?" asks a local priest. "Because he is dead and I'm alive," replies Spino. Antonio Tabucchi is a master of ambiguity and irony, an Italian writer as subtle as Calvino, as inventive as Eco. In this spare yet densely packed cautionary tale, Tabucchi reminds us (in his Author's Note) that it is impossible to reach the edge of the horizon since it always recedes before us, but suggests that some people like the philosopher Spinoza (and his namesake Spino) "carry the horizon with them in their eyes."