Il deserto dei Tartari (The Tartar Steppe) (1940) is, in short, a novel about nothing amiss. Praised by Borges, the novel tells the story of Lieutenant Giovanni Drogo, who is intended to Bastiani fortress, located in a border region of a legendarily desert occupied by the Tartars. Drogo enters that military stronghold with a mission to finish his military training, but with the idea that, in a few months, he will rise through the ranks and continue his career elsewhere, in the front or in the city. The mission of all who inhabit the fortress is to observe and to defend that point of invasion, however, in the desert just no movement; Tatars seem more an illusion, a chapter of the past, and not something that is bound to happen. Passing month and Giovanni Drogo still waiting for something to happen, the arrival of Tatars, or other invaders, but that does not happen. Not until it’s too late. Gradually, Drogo sees fuck his life in that fortress in which he planned to be only a few months, but in which he wastes his life in a passivity where dreams and hopes gradually dissolves in time.
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