The End Of The World by Dino Buzzati, 1948
The magic trick:
Criticizing the pious of the planet
All right. Not my favorite story of all time by a long shot. It’s really more of a quick sketch and for it’s brevity we are grateful. Buzzati imagines the final moments on Earth before Armageddon. It’s difficult for me to isolate any single trick as being particularly magical. Most memorable, I guess, is his criticism of the pious. He has two friars laughing and enjoying the scene, feeling proud of themselves for finally having been proven right. The priest receives confession after confession before finally losing faith – running off in a selfish (if totally understandable!) fit of fear. Nothing too terribly special, in my humble opinion, but some interesting scenes and ideas on which to dwell, I suppose. And that’s quite a trick on Buzzati’s part.
Luisa burst into uncontrollable tears: “I knew it,” she stammered between sobs, “I knew it had to end this way… never when you were in church, never when you were praying… I didn’t give a damn, didn’t care at all, and now… I felt it had to happen this way!…”