Dissipatio HG is a surrealistic fantasy novel where humankind disappears leaving its cities behind; only the narrator remains, and he wanders between Italy and Switzerland, contemplating the empty cities.
[The narrator] rants about Descartes, human destiny, time’s linearity, Neoplatonism, economic theory, the concertos of Alban Berg. His pedantry is cut by acidic wit and compressed emotion. Manic and self-lacerating, fastidious, self-absorbed, his consciousness gives the novel its brooding momentum ... One hates to weigh Morselli down with the leaden garland of prescience. Call him perceptive, then. Writing against the backdrop of Italy’s postwar economic boom, he saw the disfigurements of runaway growth coming ... Caustic, lonely and obsessive, the novel offers a richly speculative portrait of early Anthropocene resignation. 'The market of markets will one day be countryside,' the last man thinks. 'With buttercups and chicory in flower.' His relief is palpable — and at this late hour, surely familiar.
Dissipatio H.G. despite its fanciful premise, may be Morselli’s most autobiographical book: the erudite and neurotically self-aware narrator, a former newspaperman who has left the world behind to write in solitude, is essentially an alter ego ... There are hints that something fantastical has occurred, perhaps connected with the storm that began while the narrator was in the cave. But his investigations into what actually took place are quickly dropped in favor of descriptions of the landscape and reflections on Durkheim, Pascal, and Hegel, among others ... Typically, stories about the near-extinction of humanity dramatize the process of decay, with lessons on the fragility of civilization, and how easily a sense of community is shattered when people become desperate ... But Morselli forgoes the drama of depopulation, reducing the genre’s basic premise to its essence and its aftermath. His protagonist is not someone who cherishes social relations but a loner who has long since social-distanced, and flirted with self-annihilation. Given the narrator’s—and Morselli’s—views on contemporary society and its endless efforts to eliminate all kinds of earthly friction, one may even read this end of the world as a kind of collective wish fulfillment. One of the questions Morselli seems to have had on his mind is: How alive was everyone in the first place? ... Only someone well versed in loneliness—artistic, physical, emotional—could produce such a ruthlessly realistic account of an isolating catastrophe, tending to its false starts and its interruptions, its strange mixture of anxiety and tedium. In the end, that experience had a price.
... less a traditional novel than a series of brilliantly despairing philosophical disquisitions, pegged to the narrator’s wanderings through abandoned streets, airports, and hotels. We wait for him to find a companion, to hear a crackling SOS over the radio or discover a message left behind, anything to set a plot in motion ... In essayistic digressions that voluptuously condemn the decadence of modern civilization, complete with copious references to imagined or embellished Latin sources, Morselli makes the case for himself as a cantankerous shared relation of Huysmans and Houellebecq.