My foolish aims
Bernardo Zannoni writes a stark, existentialist tale where the protagonists are animals who interact and act almost like human beings, their dens are homes with beds and kitchen, but their lives are driven by instincts and immediate needs. Archy is a baby marten, born with his sisters and brothers during a cold winter. When spring comes, he becomes lame during an attempt to steal eggs from a nest and his mother, seeing how useless he now is, decides to sell him to Solomon the fox, the forest's usurer, for a chicken and a half. Despite hard work and beatings, during his bondage Solomon decides to make him his apprentice and teaches him how to read and write, skills he's learned by observing the world of humans. Archy starts writing his memoires, using his own blood as ink. Solomon soon realises that the words written by the marten are words of love and decides to entrust him with the task of rewriting his story. The old usurer has been enthralled with the world of humans since he found a Bible, by chance. From that day on, despite the arguable morality of his actions, his life became a continuous search for meaning, trying to understand the laws of God and of human beings, its children, to the point of persuading himself that he, too, is a human turned into a fox. Juxtaposing the fox's faith is the hate Archy starts feeling towards God, guilty of bringing pain and sorrow to his life and of reserving salvation only for human beings, forgetting about the animals. A simple, clear and direct writing style, where the animals' actions and the tragic events in Archy's life raise existential questions for readers who, just like the young marten, find themselves pondering concepts that are – perhaps – unknown to animals: God, time, death.
I miei stupidi intenti (My foolish aims)