BOOK REVIEW by JOHN TUCCI: THE POPE’S DAUGHTER by DARIO FO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dario Fo was an Italian actor–playwright, comedian, singer, theatre director, stage designer, songwriter, painter, and the recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature. His receipt of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature marked the

“international acknowledgment of Fo as a major figure in twentieth century world theatre”. The Swedish Academy praised Fo as a writer “who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in

scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden”
The Pope’s daughter in this book is the infamous historical figure, Lucrezia Borgia. Most recently, we were able to getter acquainted with these characters from the Showtime program “The Borgias”.

Fo’s story reads like the Game of Thrones, but it’s not all fiction. It’s designed to be a prose novel. Like the Game of Thrones, the tale is rife with political and personal intrigue. I know this may be hard to believe, but at times, there was politics in the Vatican the papacy exerted politics outside of the Vatican walls.

My issue with this book is that the translation seems stilted. For example, in Sicilian, minga is a man’s penis. The word is frequently used as an exclamation for one’s emotions positive or negative—I have no idea why. It just is.

In the book’s translation, when the new pontiff, Pope Julius II, stripped Cesare Borgia of his power, the title that came out of the bettor’s urn in the tombola was minga –The book’s translation explains minga is a concise term in dialect to indicate you have not only lost your shirt, but your britches. I have been around too many Sicilians in my life to know that’s not quite accurate.

In this book, it seems something lost in the translation. It caused me to wonder what else was lost in the translation. This may be a book that should be read in Fo’s native language.