Italian novelist Domenico Starnone’s First Execution is one of those novels where the author intrudes regularly, reminding the reader that she’s reading a novel. It’s a largely European tradition of storytelling, according to German film-maker Michael Haneke, which has its roots in the post-war period and an implicit distrust of fiction and the uses to which straight storytelling had been put by fascists
Those who escaped to America were able to continue the storytelling approach to film — really a 19th-century tradition — with a clear conscience, since it hadn’t been tainted by fascism. But in the German-speaking world, and in most of the rest of Europe, that type of straightforward storytelling, which the Nazis had made such good use of, came to be viewed with distrust. The danger hidden in storytelling became clear — how easy it was to manipulate the crowd. As a result, film, and especially literature, began to examine itself. Storytelling, with all the tricks and ruses it requires, became gradually suspect. This was not the case in Hollywood.” At this point, Haneke asked politely whether I was following him, and I told him that I was. “I’m glad,” he said, apparently with genuine relief. “For Americans, this can sometimes be hard to accept.”
from an interview with American novelist John Wray
It’s an interesting insight - even if questionable, particularly in the case of literature where there was plenty of structural intrusion prior to the Holocaust and WWII (take for example Flann O’Brien’s classic 1939 novel At-Swim-Two-Birds); certainly in an Italian or German context it seems to carry weight - and Starnone’s novel is a good example.