Known for inspiring James Joyce's Leopold Bloom from Ulysses, Zeno Cosini is the bumbling yet charming alter ego of Italo Svevo, who here lays bare a hilarious litany of neuroticisms about his health, friendships, family, and women.
Having submitted himself to Freudian psychoanalysis, the narrator keeps a diary with the aim of conquering his addiction to smoking. He describes his marriage to the woman he didn't want to marry, how he drives his business partner to despair, and how his "last cigarette" turns out to be one of many. Zeno is the classic "schlemiel"; his erratic foibles, his questionable logic, and his curious inclination to self sabotage help shine a light on human behavior in general, and reveal the many subtle half-truths people may tell themselves in order to defend their own actions and egos.
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