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MessaggioTitolo: RIASSUNTO DI CAUCCIU' IN INGLESE   Dom Gen 10, 2010 8:02 pm

by Bruno Cotronei
translated by Eleonora Rao & Richard Kidder
It is thè year 1929, in Sarawak, a semi-independent state
in thè largo island of Borneo, ruled by. thè BROOKE dynasty
founded in 1839 by an English adventurer who became thè oniy
white Rajah in thè worid. Thè islan.d's inhabitsnts are
Malaysian, Dayac, Chinese and a few whites, mostly English.
Thè twenty year oid JOHN CARACCIOLO drives across thè
vast TEMPLEMORE rubber plantation, which has been owned by thè
fainily for three generations, and looks with pride out on to
thè" picturesque scene, onto thè young rubber trees (hevea
trees), and onto those .oider ones froin which thè sap is
extracted from V shaped incisions on thè trunjcs, then to be
transported to thè large, nauseating, and noisy storehouses,
where thè poverty stricken and exploited locai workers prepare
charcoàl coloured sheets of rubber,'to be cut and pressed in
huge bales.
Past thè storehouses .and thè Malaysian, Dayac and Chin,ese
villages, stands an oid bungalow used as an office, and, at
thè end, thè large house, for years now thè residence of thè
Caracciolo f.amily, and where, at this moment, thè wife of thè
oid Chinese servant Chang, his sons and thè innumerable
grandchildren are huinbly waiting for his funeral to start. A
ways off, and with attitudes so different from that of thè
Chinese servants, stands thè entire Caracciolo family:
MICHELE, thè head of thè family and thè father of John; MARY,
thè roother; LINDA and MARGARET, thè 19 and 17 year oid

1 ' ' • 2
t sisters; TOM and PAUL, thè 16 and 13 year oid brothers. FATHER
GILL.-the Catholic priest is also there; GEORGE and LENA
• SIMPSON, thè son and daughter of •Sir Simpson, thè owner of thè
" oniy other rubber plantation in Sarawak that couid compete
with Templemore; and SIR CHARLES VYNER BROOKE, thè forty year
oid heir to thè throné of thè Rajah of Sarawak.
Thè funeral roass takes piace and then thè white people
enter thè large house, and over lunch, they discuss a dreaded
worid-wide economie crisis. Soon, however, more pressing
• concerns attracttheir attention, with, however, thè sole .
exception'of John. To thè sound of thè gramophone in thè
background, Charles Vyner.courts Linda, and George courts
Margaret, while Lena tries in vain to interest John by telling
him that thè banker Tom Proves has asked her to marry hiro.
In thè villa on Cape Datu, at thè far end of thè
plantation, John meets with,SUE, his young Ch.inese lover, and
makes iinpetuous love to her. In this way he takes his mind off
thè impending economie problems and off his latent fear of
competition from within thè family in thè running of thè finn,
' ' thè oniy true love of his life. He fears neither his
prematurely aged father, nor Tom, who has no will of his own,
but oniy Paul. who is aiready proving to be an extremely
bright and intelligent young man with progressive ideas.
As thè dancers whirl, Lena, outraged by Joh^s refusai,
goes to thè Chinese village where by roeans of threats and
bribes, she forces Sue^s faroily to abandon Sarawak with their
daughter forever. But John intervenes, and with thè help of
his violent employee, Kotta, he holds thè young Chinese woman

in Kuching, thè capitai of Sarawak, and chases thè family that
had betrayed him from thè island.
Toni, before returning to high school in Singapore, asks
John to help him find a locai woroan for his sexual initiation.
Thè uncouth Tom does noi bave any problems with his sexuality,
uniike Paul, who has strange sexual fantasies, and who
masturbates in an unusual roanner and "ntertains doubts about
whether or not he has normal erections. .
While thè family is at table, John informs them of his
decision to travei to Singapore for business, and then to
leave from there for a long trip to Londòn and to thè States
in an attempi to sell thè entire production of Templemore for
thè next tour years-to thè most important producers of tires,
Duniop, Firestone andGoodyear. Thè young men talk about thè •
most convenient means of transportation: ships and thè newly
created airlines. It is then that Michele reconstructs in his
mind thè event that, in 1908, brought him to Sarawak. Thè
vessel on which was working'as an assistant chief machinist,
was shipwrecked off of Cape Datu, leaving him alone and
desperate on thè shore of thè vast beach of Sematan. Here h,e
was rescued .by Mister MALLOW, Mary^s father, to whom he
succeeded in passing himself off as a ship's officer. During
thè month that he spent in thè small "Templemore*1 of that
time, where he was treated as a distinguished guest, he carne
to understand that this was thè oniy opportunity in his life
to becorne rich. He then succeeded in winning and in seducing
Mary, Mallow's daughter, who previously had desired thè
Dayacs, but who now found in Michele a white roan who was as
attractive as a Dayac. In Kuching, during a picturesque

I . 4
reception given by thè Rajah, Michele convinced thè girl to
a/ . teli her father not oniy that she had lost her virginity, but
f •
also that she was expecting a child. In a dramatic scene,
Michele manages to extort from Mr Mallow, in addition to his
assent to' thè wedding, half of his property and thè control of
thè small finn. Within a short period of tinie, as thè result
of his unscrupulous behaviour, Michele expanded thè finn,
utterly driving out his father-in-law, who was then compelied
to depart for his native Ireland, and then founded thè
Caracciolo Rubber Company Ltd. In addition, he had thè large
house built, as thè pennanent residence of his family, and thè
villa on Cape Datu, which he used for his meetings with
beautifui and young Dayac women.
John (thè narration has gone back to thè year 1929),
while in Singapore, London and.Akron in thè United States,
conducts thè affairs of thè Caracciolo Rubber Company, Ltd.
with tenacity, skìll, and unscrupulousness, succeeding in
selling thè entire rubber production of Templemore for thè
next four yeàrs. shortiy before thè Wall Street crisis
(concerning which a forcefui description has been provided),
but he is compelied, however, to turn over a 20 share in thè
family business to two American companies. Then, back in
Sarawak> he attempts to take control bf thè Simpson plantation
by rendering Sir Simpson powerless, with thè help of George
who is in love with his sister Margaret. But Lena, who now
hates him, opposes him and thè plantation is bought by Tom
proves, Lena's future husband.-John then forces his parents to
forbid thè wedding between Margaret and George, thus

5 .
disrupting for many years ahead his sister's menta! balance as
well as her sex life.
Beginnina of Part Two. It is 1934 in Singapore where Paul
is attending thè lasi year of high school. He has a
girifriend. Annette, with whom he has a chaste romance. His
sexual problems are far from solved, in fact, they have became
more pronounced due also tc thè pressing and frequent attempts
of seduction by thè licentious Chinese servant AI-LAN, who
finally .accuses. him of being homosexual and impotent.
After fìnishing high school, Paul goes back to Templemore
for thè suminer. Thè economie crisis has also left its raark on
thè Caracciolo Rubber Company whose production has suffered a
cutback because of insufficient demand. In those years Paul's
brothers gol roarried: John to thè unattractive and neurotic

but rich LUANA KENNEDY; Tom to thè gorgeous and restless GREA
ASTORFORD; Linda to CHARLES VYNER BROOKE, who has becoroe-
Rajah; Margaret to ROBERT, an engineer from Singapore.
During that troubied suminer Paul, with thè help of his
mother who for thè first tiroe opposes John, manages to obtain
' *
pennission to go to Oxford in order to take a degree in
' cheroistry (he intends to specialize in thè technology of
synthetic rubber whose growing importance he has intuitively
perceived). During that summer he spends much of his time with
John^s three sons, Tom^s two sons, and with his sisters-in-
law, who in Constant rivalry among themselves, try to seduce
him. But.Paul does noi play this game, in part because of his
unremitting sexual problems. In àn emotional dialogue between
mother and son, Mary reveais her guilt in supporting Michele's
pian to deceive and then to turn out her father from thè

^ plantation, and for thè first lime she alludes to thè curse of
Tenipleraore. It was from that unconscionable action that thè
curse wouid have originated, and in Mary's telling, it
manifested itself in Michele's,numerous liaisons with young :
Dayac women, which resulted in thè births.of bastard children;
in John's unscrupulous behaviour, both in thè business and in
his married life; in. Margaret's angry behaviour, who in
Singapore had an open love affair with George Simpson. Paul,
troubied, goes to Kuching, and stays at thè Astana, thè palace
of his sister Linda and of thè Rajah. Here too he discovers
insidious conduci: his sister is having an affair with. Major _
Smith, an Englishman employed at Brooke's court. Distressed by
these discoveries, he goes to Father Gill, with whom he has a
profound and comforting oonversation concerning religion and .
ethics. .
Paul .leaves for Europe, and arrives at Oxford, where he
has problems fitting in to his new surroundings, both because
he is considered a "papist" and also because he does not join
his fellow students in their visits to thè town brothels. Then
he meets CYNTHIA TAYLOR and falls in love with her. They
become engaged and start making plans for marriage even though
. he is stili haunted by doubts regarding his sexual potency.
Two years later, after finishing his BSc, he is suddenly
summoned back to Borneo upon thè dramatic death of Michele.
Two contradictory wilis, one of which favored John, and .
another more equitable and later will which favored Paul,
compel him in fact to compete with John for thè control of thè
Caracciolo Rubber Company, Ltd. Paul succeeds in prevailing,
with thè help of Linda and Margaret, after turbulent twists in

thè unfolding of thè action, after episodes of profound sexual
/ ' •
perversion, and after turoultuous company meetings. In thè
course of these meetings thè brothers^ different approaches to
thè business becomes evident (that of John, einpirical, •
conservative and exploitative; that of Paul, scientific,
cultivated and socially open-minded). Margaret votés for Paul
because John had confined her to a psychiatric clinic froin
which she later escaped with thè help of Lena and Tom Proves,
who then left her in thè care of WALTER HANTER, director of
thè ex Simpson plantation, who falls in love with her and
wants to marry her.
Paul returns to Oxford (1937) and marries Cynthia,
despite hisold sexual anxieties which dissolve wonderfully
• 'during thè wedding night (described in detail). But during
their honeymoon in Sorrento, thè town where his father was
born, amid thè echoes of fascism, Paul, in diving from a high
rock, injures himself in thè lower abdomen, and thè suture
makes thè penis' corpus cavernosum smaller, as a result of •
which Paul becomes impotent. At almost thè same time Cynthia
' I
discovers herself to be pregnant. •
Back in Templemore, thè young couple decide to keep thè
consequences of thè accident hidden from thè rest of thè
family. They are now at thè very top in thè hierarchy of ••thè
plantation, as Paul has become thè directing officer of thè
Caracciolo Rubber Coropany. John, who also has Grea as his
lover, plots to destabilise thè coropany. Notwithstanding ali
of this, thè newlyweds experience with tenderness and love thè
period of pregnancy, and take part -in thè ceremonies of thè
locai workers, who are now treated as eroployees rather than as

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MessaggioTitolo: Re: RIASSUNTO DI CAUCCIU' IN INGLESE   Dom Gen 10, 2010 8:06 pm


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slaves. But after PETER is born, thè forced sexual abstinence
troubles their relation and, after an angry quarrel in which
misunderstandings prevaii, Paul stays away from'home for a few
days. Cynthia looks for him in vain, and one afternoon, angry
and bewildered, Cynthia has sexual intercourse with John, who
cunningly.takes advantage of thè situation, and conceives
. She refuses to have an abortion and confesses her guilt
to Paul who, however painfully, decides to forgive her, and
turns John out of Templemore, sending him tò Singapore. In May
1940 Stili is born, and is considered by everybody to be thè
second-born of Paul and Cynthia.
Thè fourth pari of thè novei opens with thè escape into
thè jungle of ali thè influential people of Sarawak, including
Paul and thè Rajah. It is thè end of 1941, thè Japanese have
attacked Pearl Harbour, and are now invading Borneo. Those who
inanage to escape will bqard, far from Kuching, an American
submarine that has been sent there in order to fetch Brooke.
John, who is in Singapore, collaborates with.thè new
rulers and is sent to Kuching with full jurisdiction over thè
plantations and thè oil welis of Sarawak. He has no pity on
thè locais, on thè women left without husbands and without any
kind of support for themselves and for their children. Cynthia
treats him coldly and ironically, but she is forced to take
refuge in Mary's apartment in order to escape her brother-in-
law's assaults, where she confesses to her mother-in-law, in
an excited and moving exchange, everything about herself,
Paul^ injury, and thè paternity of Stili.

m . One day SUSAN BRAY, thè wife of an American engineer and
r dose friend of Cynthia, enters John's office, in order to
request some medication urgently needed for her seriously ili .
son, and, to obtain it, she discloses Paul's impotency and
Still^s paternity. John, who aiready had experienced feelings
of love for Cynthia, and this was thè first time he had fallen
in love, rushec- to her, animated by good intentions, but i-s
rejected. He reacts to this by taking his son away from
Cynthia, confining hiiri in thè villa on Cape Datu, at first
under thè surveillance of thè faithfui Kotta, and later under
that of Grea.
In thè meantime, in San Francisco and then in Los
Angeles, Paul experiences how hard thè American way of life
can be for those who have no money. Thè direcfors of Goodyear

and Firestone have no more sympathy for thè members of thè
Caracciolo Rubber Company and they oniy offer lowly jobs to
thè brothers. Tom accepts and moves to Akron, whereas Paul
becomes one of thè roany chemists working for a factory that
produces synthetic rubber in Los Angeles. But in America at
that time a number of patriotic documentary films are being
produced for thè war effort, and film crews begin visiting
industriai establishments. A film studio sees in Paul a new
actor with great potential, giving him thè name Paul Cary. Thè
young man accepts thè offer in order to earn thè money that
will allow him to return clandestinely to Sarawak, but he then
realizes that thè contract, which he signed in haste, does not
allow him to l.eave. 'In addition, in that environment where
sexuality is open and rampant.'he is tormented by a siege of
stars at thè end of their careers, or by young-stars in search

of notoriety. He is, of course, unable to please them, and is
compelied to reveal his secret to his producer who devises a
.ruse so that nobody couid suspect Paul^s impotence, and he
also arranges for a farnous and skilied doctor to treat him.
At Templemore Cynthia is forced to submit herself to Grea
in order to try and see her son Stili. It seems, in fact, that
John now is interested oniy in Tom^s wife, who takes advantage
of this fact to lord it over her sister-in-law and over thè
other white women, and, of course, over ali thè locals.
In thè meantime, in Hollywood, Paul feels that he has
been reborn, since there is hope that new plastic surgery
techniques will heal him. He has become involved in thè worid
of cinema and he how has ambitions for an Oscar. He thus tries
deterrainediy to obtain leading roles in films that are certain
to be successfui, and he participates in classic Holiywood
parties, which are vividly described.
Years go by, and thè Americans are dose to victory in
thè Pacific front. From this time on, everything goes badiy '
for John: Grea no longer satisfies him, thè rubber production
that he is in charge of, in spite of thè arduous labor he
imposes on thè locai workers, does not meet thè quotas that
have been set; at night, he his tormented by nightmares. One
day in 1945, as he is .going home, perhaps to commit suicide
(what else was there for him do?), he is kilied in a fierce '
sword attack by Kamasung, thè foreman of thè plantation, who
like a vengefui God r'edeems in that violent manner ali those
who are suppressed and ali thè peoples of color.
Thè last chapter (it. is July 1946) focuses on thè large
house in Templemore where Paul, Cynthia, Mary, Margaret and

L Tom Hunter, Linda, Tom with his new wife Shirley and thè
grandchildren are gathered.. Grea has been cast out, while
Luana is in a psychiatric hospital in Singapore.
Linda protests thè fact that thè Rajah ha& renounced his
right to thè throne not oniy for himself but àlso for his
heirs. Mary appears rejuvenated and happy, because thè care of
thè sons of John and Luana has been entrusted to her. Thè
conversation is lively, and Paul wisely supervises it with thè
authority of thè head of thè family. Thè various
grandchildren, some now in their teens, aiready manifest their
different and well-defined temperamenfs, just as it was back
in 1929 with young John, Tom, Paul, Linda and Margaret. They
discuss thè worid's prospective economie arfd politicai
conditions, now deeply changed, and thè future of Templemore,
now far*smaller than in previous times.
Pau^s eyes follow thè lines of thè green veins of a
large leaf, leading his gaze to Cynthia^ beautifui face, and
reminding him of thè day he returned to Templemore, when after
a prolonged kiss, he took her up thè large staircase to thè
silent room, immersed in thè quiet semi-darkness, and
experienced thè immense joy of making her his own again, in a
renewal of orgasms and of love.
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