The tension between reality as substance, and the cut of edit as fiction, appears in a remark of Lila to Lenù: ‘You always use true and truthfully, when you speak and when you write. Or you say: unexpectedly. But when do people ever speak truthfully and when do things ever happen unexpectedly? You know better than I that it’s all a fraud and that one thing follows another and then another. I don’t do anything truthfully anymore, Lenù. And I’ve learned to pay attention to things. Only idiots believe that they happen unexpectedly.’
It’s all a fraud. Lila breaks rules (and margins), moves people ‘like characters in a story’. Lenù often feels she’s inauthentic, she believes her words are derived from Lila’s. The more Lila and Lenù appear as figures of artifice and fabulation, the stronger the effect of smarginatura, its ability to unconnect from expectations and reconnect to the chaos of life.