Dissensions by an Objective Reactionary

Andrei Navrozov’s newest book of reminiscences is intended to be the literary and photographic proof of his “internal exile.”  By this term, he underscores his distance from the present age, in which philistine housewives have seized control of our social and political institutions and mass culture has become increasingly degraded.  In this present time of “babbling Maryanns,” Navrozov has chosen a life of secluded elegance in Italy, an option that may not be open to all of us but one that it is hard to fault him for taking.  As in his other prose works—for example, the autobiographical The Gingerbread Race and his essays as corresponding editor for Chronicles (of which this is a collection)—Navrozov uses this work to display his verbal prowess.  Almost every section, devoted to his impressions of peoples and places in Italy, abounds in well-wrought phrases.  Although I have never had—and perhaps never will have—the good fortune to visit Monte Argentario on the Tyrrhenian Sea, both the promontory and its inhabitants are now etched in my mind by Navrozov’s descriptions.  But some of the types encountered in his book, such as Fr. Peter Jacobs—a Jewish convert to Catholicism, who complements his priestly vocation by running an expensive restaurant in Trastevere and consorting with underworld financiers—seem too picaresque to be...

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