Marco Pensante is a musician, a writer and translator. Only recently I got the chance and the honor to find out he is also a musician. For many, many years, his science-fiction book Il Sole Non Tramonta has been on my bookshelf and I have often re-read it; it is one of the most extraordinary books of science fiction ever written, nothing less than the works of Asimov, Arthur Clarke or Frank Herbert. I am an avid reader of science-fiction; I would venture to say that I know the genre very well. The Romanian edition of Il Sole Non Tramonta, Ziua Intunericului, was one of the wisest and most valuable books ever translated and published by Nemira in Romania, 20 years ago.
David Tschander, the main character of the novel, is also a passionate musician, even though he likes to keep his passion hidden. It will prove to be a life-changing passion. The action of the novel takes place on the planet Kendall – a very special planet which has the rotation period equal to that of revolution, thus being constantly oriented with only one side towards its Sun. This astronomical particularity has of course deep effects upon the planet. One side is a hot desert – named Chon and the other one a frozen ocean with scattered islands here and there – Axari. But both the hemispheres are inhabited by brave people who have learnt to adapt.
Every eight thousand years, a solar eclipse occurs; it is known in history by the name of Shamshal’Kile, the day of the darkness. The entire planet will dive into complete darkness for a few days. The effects upon life are devastating and mankind must adapt even more – or must perish.
What does David Tschander do? A complicated intrigue forces him on a lost island in the Axari ocean; there, he grows until the point where he almost becomes more than human, a super-human or a super-hero in the true sense of the expression – all due to a special musical ability. He is among the very few – if not the only one – to be able to play a very delicate musical instrument – the author describes it as a combination between a lute, a mandolin and a guitar: the Chordawin lute has five double chords, the intervals are not tempered and it is considered to be sacred, the voice of Gods. On Kendall, the man who would be able to play the instrument was considered to be Shakkai’ Wakhy, a man who would send messages from Shakkay – the God of this world. David proves the finesse of his spirit and the quality of his heart when he refuses to be worshipped and venerated – he refuses the high honor – and also the responsibility of being considered the man who was god-sent – remaining only a man who would know how to play the Chordawin lute.
I will not go into further details considering the subject of the book and the numerous and complex adventures David gets to live. He is a character that grows; becomes richer; becomes wiser and stronger with each obstacle that is surmounted – as in fairytales. David is a character that you get to grow fond of; at the end of the book, you are in love with David Tschander and your only regret is that the book does not have a CD attached to it, so that you can listen to the wonderful improvisations on the Chordawin lute or to the works of the famous composer Hnure Gyddel.
I wish I could tell you more about Marco Pensate but he is a discrete person – like all the great, genuine artists. I know he was born in Brescia, Italy, in 1966 and he currently lives there. He has also worked as a translator, rendering many works into Italian. I hope I will soon read a new book signed by him – rumors say he is working on a new one. If true, then I will start learning Italian – a language which I find impossibly difficult!
Il Sole Non Tramonta – Ziua Intunericului, The Day of the Darkness – I have two copies of it – one of them from 20 years ago, received as a gift on my birthday (I was 13 years old); the other one I have found it in an antique bookstore a few months ago, and I could not stand the idea of leaving it there! There are passions that are worth nourishing; and for this book I have a life-long passion.