Zeno's Conscience - Italo Svevo
Firstly published by
Giuseppe Morreale Editore, Milan translated by W. Weaver
The novel is presented as a diary written by Zeno, published by his doctor, whom has published the work as revenge for Zeno discontinuing his visits.
The diary, however, does not follow chronological order. It is structured in large chapters, each concerning a different theme. The only chapter that can be considered an actual diary it's the last one where dates and time of events of the Great War are displayed.
Zeno first writes about his cigarette addiction and recalls the first times he smoked. Eventually he becomes addicted and later in the year decides to stop.
The problem with his "last cigarette" starts when he is twenty. He decides smoking is bad for him and smokes his "last cigarette" so he can quit. Failing that.
He attempts to quit on days of important events in his life and soon obsessively attempts to quit on the basis of the harmony in the numbers of dates.
Each time, the cigarette fails to truly be his last.
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