How To Travel With A Salmon by Umberto Eco, 1994
The magic trick:
Narrating silliness as if its of the utmost importance
Italian author here during Sweden Week on the website. It’s set in Stockholm so it seemed like a good fit.
It’s a very short story; a comedic sketch, really. It’s got a little bit of a P.G. Wodehouse vibe. The premise is silly. The stakes are very low. The problem isn’t really even a problem. Yet the narrator narrates it as if these are the worst events that could happen in a man’s life.
The result? Comedy.
And that’s quite a trick on Eco’s part.
I pulled out another two drawers and transferred the new contents of the bar, where I then replaced my salmon. The next day at four P.M., the salmon was back on the desk, and it was already emanating a suspect odor.
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