Updated: Sep 18, 2021
How many times in our lives do we underestimate children or overlook their abilities or even brush off what they have to say? At many instances indeed! I know we are guilty of that. However, as said “A child is the father of man”, holds rightly true in the book “Trick” by Domenico Starnone, originally written in Italian and translated by yet another favorite of mine, Jhumpa Lahiri. The title of the book is apt as it narrates the story of an old artist who happen to be tricked by his grandson which of course was out of play but the lesson he learns from that instance changes his perception towards life. It opens the veil of insecurity he had been living from the last 70 years of his life. The story is spun so beautifully that telling it to be an exuberant read would be an understatement.
Involving just two characters primarily (though there were other characters) and spinning the entire story around it is commendable. This book is timeless i.e., it is for all age groups whether it be children or elders. This book has taught me two big lessons, never to underestimate children and also that life should not be taken up so seriously as to keeping the insecurities intact and cribbing about it so intensely that it changes your personality.
Speaking about the novel, the story revolves around an old artist who could have given up work long ago as he was financially stable but somehow dreads doing that fearing that he would have nothing to look forward to. He has a daughter who is married, and a little son named Mario. His daughter is having a troubled marriage which is quite evident with her husband’s behavior who builds up hypothetical situations which ruins it even more. The couple is headed for work for a few days out of station and hence call the old man to look after their son. The aged artist is preoccupied with his own work and initially avoids going to his daughter’s place but eventually gives in. he spends a few days juggling between his work and looking after his grandson. In this course of time, he is most of the times irritated and does not want to get involved with the child. However, the things which unfold at this time and the way the author has penned it down is extravagantly beautiful.
Talking about the translation, Jhumpa Lahiri has done a commendable job on the same. Hence, I loved the Introduction to the book too. The picturesque depiction of Italy is a treat for the readers. So, if you are a fan of fictional writings which also has a meaningful end, this book is just the one for you. A strongly recommended book.