Three Light Years by
Tre anni luce
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Certain loves seem light years away. Yet sometimes they are the most significant, the only ones that really count for us: the ones that generate the universe in which we live. Cecilia and Claudio, doctors at the same hospital, are drawn to one another over a period of time marked by their ritual lunches together and by the frequency of their conversations and confidences. Still, their mutual attraction, though intense, fails to manifest itself, like a constellation
whose lines are yet untraced.
The Art of Joy by
Goliarda Sapienza’s massive novel The Art of Joy (L' arte della gioia, Stampa Alternativa, 1998, and Einaudi, 2008) is a memorable, engaging work that was written over a nine year span, from 1967 to 1976. Published posthumously – Sapienza died in 1996 – it was presented as a “forgotten masterpiece” and soon became a best-seller in France (L’Art de la Joie, Editions Viviane Hamy, 2005, Nathalie Castagné, tr.) where it is said to have sold 140,000 copies. This epic Sicilian novel which begins in the year 1900 and follows its main character, Modesta, through nearly the entire span of the 20th century, is at once a coming-of-age novel, a tale of adventure, a fictional/an imaginary autobiography and more. While the Einaudi book cover displays a kind of Lolita figure, the cover of the 1998 edition, a rather shocking orange, portrays an Etruscan mask sticking its tongue out as though taunting us: “I dare you to read me!”. On the back is a photo of Goliarda, smoking a cigarette and lying in a hammock: that mild gaze of hers, those experienced, all-knowing eyes, seem to be those of the book’s narrator. Indeed Modesta grows up knowing how to get by in life, living every experience with intensity and focus, determined to be the author of her own life rather than succumb to societal prejudices of what a woman should or shouldn’t do or be. Through it all she is at times innocent victim, calculating schemer or violent aggressor. Though Modesta is a transgressor in the extremely repressed world in which she finds herself, the degree of her consent or collusion is ambiguous. Her exaggerated behavior holds both disturbing undercurrents and a compelling power, and these are reflected in her telling. A book that deserves wide readership and recognition.
June 2013 from
Penguin UK and Farrar, Straus & Giroux
I Will Have Vengeance
The Winter of Commissario Ricciardi
by Maurizio de Giovanni
First U.S. edition
|Maurizio de Giovanni's thriller, I Will Have Vengeance: The Winter of Commissario
Ricciardi, is the first of a series. Set in the city of Naples in the Mussolini
era, it introduces Commissario Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi who has the unusual
"gift" of seeing the dead.
First published in the UK by
Hersilia Press, 2012.
by Vito Bruschini
work in progress for
Atria Books, Simon & Schuster
THE PRINCE by Italian journalist Vito Bruschini (original title: The Father. Il padrino dei padrini, Newton Compton Editori, 2009) recreates events from 1920 to 1943 with characters and settings ranging from rural Sicily to New York City. Depicting the life of the fictional founding father of the Sicilian mafia, the novel recounts the story of Prince Ferdinando Licata (nicknamed u’ Patri) who arrived in New York City in 1939 and became The Father, il Padrino. The book takes its inspiration from revelations contained in a secret government file dating from 1945, which details the ambiguous collusion between U.S. naval intelligence and the Italian-American Cosa Nostra – often in direct conflict with the FBI – following America’s entry into the Second World War and culminating with the invasion of Sicily in 1943.
Blindly by Claudio Magris
Yale University Press,
Who is the mysterious narrator of Blindly? Clearly a recluse and a fugitive, but what more of him can we discern? Baffled by the events of his own life, he muses, "When I write, and even now when I think back on it, I hear a kind of buzzing, blathered words that I can barely understand, gnats droning around a table lamp, that I have to continually swat away with my hand, so as not to lose the thread."
From The New Yorker, October 22, 2012, p. 81:
Blindly, by Claudio Magris, translated from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel (Yale). Written in a torrential monologue, this novel presents readers with the disconnected thoughts of a madman (that most unreliable of narrators), and depicts one of the darkest chapters of the twentieth century. "History is a spyglass held up to a blindfolded eye," he says at one point, perhaps summing up the novel's conceit. At times, he is a prisoner in Goli Otok, the hellish gulag where Tito condemned Yugoslavian fascists and, later, Stalinists. At other times, he is Jorgen Jorgensen, the adventurer and self-proclaimed ruler of Iceland, who explored Tasmania only to return to it years later as a convict. Or, maybe, he is both. As he reassures the reader, "It's History that's sick, that's taken leave of its senses, not me." The narrative is confusing and unstable, but the prose, which meanders through the crevasses of a complicated mind, takes off and reads like poetry.
From M.A.Orthofer’s review in The Complete Review, September 2, 2012:
“fascinating approach, impressively textured”
“…the success of the novel comes in the musical counterpoint composition of the text. It’s not always easy to follow, and yet, like a piece of music, does easily carry the reader along.”
“Quite a remarkable work, playfully amusing and deeply serious.”
read more at http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/italia/magrisc.htm
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