Alfred Massa: Rebbiegħa kollha lwien: a novel;
Horizons publication, 243 pp.; 2019.
Maltese novels have always been very popular with the average Maltese reader and, thankfully, their popularity is apparently very much on the increase.
In a way, this is a huge advantage for the language, for the authors and for reading itself, since it is a fact that books have lost much of their old charm and attraction thanks to the numerous alienations and distractions being offered very temptingly by an ever-increasing sophisticated technology.
Alfred Massa has been writing novels for many years now, and all of them have been very-well- received by local readers. All of them were the product of experiences that Massa, an author, as well as a poet, went through, invariably extremely sensitive to what went on around him, and then put pen to paper.
Massa’s novels have always been unique in style and presentation. He has always been very keen to present novels that are realistic, factual, down to earth, with a moral that further adds to the value of the story, and never lacking drama and colour in the various situations he creates so effectively for the reader to enjoy.
Rebbiegħa Kollha Lwien, his 16th novel to date, is once again a story that is highly realistic and readable. The author opens up with a poetic prelude hinting at springtime, paving the way for what is to come. Spring is synonymous to youth, as winter is to old age. And well-experienced in life as he is, Massa waxes lyrically and nostalgically at this season. His memory of the past certainly sets the stage for the story and its protagonists he chose this time.
Gina and Walter and Mary and David are two amiable couples, both happily in love, going through difficult moments and set on realising their ideals one way or another. Their parents try to help as much as they can with mixed results.
Then there is Wenza, who plays a very important part in the moving saga, which little by little gathers momentum. David admits that he had lost a treasure and found it again. To whom or to what was he referring?
Katrin, Tereża, Lonza, Mattew, Ninu, Dun Nikol and, once again, Wenza, often take centre stage as the story develops and gathers momentum, to eventually reach a dramatic climax and an equally moving end to what is one of the best novels Massa has ever written.
Much of the value and beauty of this story is complemented by historical references which flash nostalgically way back to the 50s. And there is the moral which enhances Massa’s novels, all of which are written in excellent Maltese.
Colours are very symbolical here, not only literally in relation to spring as a season, but also metaphorically in their relation to humanity itself, with all its joy and sadness, its good and bad traits and the unavoidable changes that eventually move spring to winter.
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