I'm back with a HUGE PILE OF ITALIAN BOOKS!!!!!

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Italian Noir

^Broadcast last night. A good watch (lots of lecturers from Italian departments: kept thinking that if this was made a year or two from now many of them wouldn't have a job in here.

The historical narrative of 'murders don't get solved/the crime as a means of looking into fascism/etc' only held up to Sciascia. Anglo Noir's shtick is much more pronounced than many of they would like to admit by the time it got into Baraldi and Cataldo: a lot of revenge fantasy and unflinching violence straight out of old style hardboiled noir. Only Lucarelli's fascist cop sounds interesting.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 28 December 2010 11:02 (eight years ago) link

nine months pass...


Malaparte anyone? Don't have access but might get this issue for that article by Edmund.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 8 October 2011 10:24 (eight years ago) link

two years pass...

Excellent piece on 'Zibaldone'

xyzzzz__, Friday, 27 December 2013 11:35 (five years ago) link

For a start it says nothing about Leopardi (apart from saying it keeps the personal away = great to see an article mentioning he isn't a hunchback, which colours your view of where he is coming from) and talks about it as a piece of many more dimensions the John Gray penned New Statesman piece (which only talks about the bits that sound like John Gray).

The only downside is how it makes a great argument for reading the whole thing and not skimming thru any bits around language, that all of it does form into a coherent set of arguments, mostly composed over a two year period.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 27 December 2013 11:51 (five years ago) link

haha when i saw it was you i knew this would be the zibaldone

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 27 December 2013 19:01 (five years ago) link

I'm just too predictable.

To add to the above I only say downside because I don't want to carry this around and I seriously can't be arsed with an ereader.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 28 December 2013 11:42 (five years ago) link

six months pass...

My year in Italian Fiction:

- Fallen out w/Gadda. Picked up Acquainted w/Grief again earlier this year and didn't like the showy prose

Currently reading Malaparte's Kaputt and its turning out to be the best journalistic novel, not that are many? In that he stretches the imagery but the conversations feel reported and accurate in their savage content. I love and yet feel a repulsion toward the narrator, how he feels a sympathy for the poor and beaten, and yet he chooses to hang out with the victors. The reflections seem substantial, or at least not that novel: the Germans are frightened more by the weak than the strong. The reading is wide, attentive. Feels like Celine picked up on this for his trilogy? Or that's what a writer used to do...they make their choices, live them out, then survive a hanging to tell the world about it.

Makes Morante's History: A Novel which I liked it at the time, seem a lesser work in the concentration of war and its effects on a mother and child, with the existential guy later on to provide wider reflection.

- Picked up more poets: Quasimodo and Montale, see how I get on with that?

- Read a review of the latest Elena Ferrante novel. Need to read her next.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 22 July 2014 09:39 (five years ago) link

five months pass...

Read and loved all the Ferrante.

Back onto Morante - finished Arturo's Island earlier today and this is really way better than History. There is a sentimentality to it that feels off to me. Arcoeli sounds unsparing as well. Both books are written from the POV of men.

Also saw Straub/Huillet's Sicilia!, their adaptation of the Vittorini. If you ever get a chance you are in for a treat.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 8 January 2015 11:45 (four years ago) link

i bought _days of abandonment_ and am excited to read it but the US editions of her work have the ugliest covers i have ever seen on a "serious novel."


adam, Thursday, 8 January 2015 12:44 (four years ago) link

all the europa editions stuff i have is mad ugly tho

adam, Thursday, 8 January 2015 12:44 (four years ago) link

one month passes...

tomasso landolfi- gogol's wife

ancient texts, things that can't be pre-dated (President Keyes), Sunday, 8 February 2015 02:47 (four years ago) link

The cover of My Brilliant Friend signifies when you get into the last section, re the wedding.

dow, Sunday, 8 February 2015 02:56 (four years ago) link

Finsihing a couple of Natalia Ginzburg novellas. In Velentino there are three births, three deaths (one a suicide of course), a wedding, another aborted wedding, all told matter of factly in 45 mins. Its just life, in all its disappointments.

Sagitarius is even better. Here the mother - daughter relationship is complex. In Italian novels I get the impression the mother is a village simpleton but here it seems she is more of a frustrated wannabe intellectual.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:09 (four years ago) link

Sorry again, Valentino and Sagittarius

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:16 (four years ago) link

eight months pass...


Great to see a couple of pieces on Levi. Need to re-read The Periodic Table

xyzzzz__, Friday, 16 October 2015 23:00 (four years ago) link

Thanks. I've got a copy of The Periodic Table somewhere around here, in case I haven't mentioned it before, IN ITALIAN!!!!

Raz Turned Blue (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 October 2015 02:18 (four years ago) link

This is better, maybe because the argument for a darker conclusion is made to stick.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 23 October 2015 16:14 (three years ago) link


Are You A Borad Or Are You A URL? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 23 October 2015 16:26 (three years ago) link

haha when I linked that it hadn't been opened up for non-subscribers.

I was thinking that the NYRB piece is better than the piece in the New Yorker

xyzzzz__, Friday, 23 October 2015 16:30 (three years ago) link


Are You A Borad Or Are You A URL? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 24 October 2015 00:35 (three years ago) link

four months pass...

This series of blog posts on the Levi set has turned into a monument of crank.

I stare at Brock's Pavese everytime I find myself in the LRB bookshop but don't want to stump up 18 quid or whatever. Could send me over the edge tho'.

Ippolito Nuevo looks interesting (I love his name)

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 16 March 2016 23:26 (three years ago) link

I get that Parks wants a more down-to-earth translation (I get that Ann Goldstein is possibly too boringly literary). They are v good pieces - and they have certainly sharpened my sense of what is really translating into English or not. otoh great writing translates even if translated badly (or if the editing is bunk).

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 16 March 2016 23:30 (three years ago) link

Parks is very entertaining, though. I really enjoyed his collection of those NYRB pieces that came out last year (this year in the US).

like Uber, but for underpants (James Morrison), Thursday, 17 March 2016 01:38 (three years ago) link

Who's Ippolito Nuevo, btw? A quick Googling gets me only stuff I cannot understand.

like Uber, but for underpants (James Morrison), Thursday, 17 March 2016 01:40 (three years ago) link

Sorry its Nievo:


Really want to read the above but no subscriber.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 17 March 2016 08:12 (three years ago) link

Now i feel even dumber, as i own but have not read that book!

like Uber, but for underpants (James Morrison), Thursday, 17 March 2016 11:06 (three years ago) link

Had an idea to poll off-the-classics-lists from the 19th century. Totally arbitrary list -will have to read and put that in if I like it.

This looks so much more interesting than Manzoni but I'm indie like that.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 17 March 2016 12:12 (three years ago) link

Hey, xyzzzz, I found that I had that Parks/Nievo article you wanted to read, so I uploaded it here: www.scribd.com/doc/305150648/Tim-Parks-Ippolito-Nievo

like Uber, but for underpants (James Morrison), Thursday, 17 March 2016 22:38 (three years ago) link

Thanks James! ha, Parks compares it to Manzoni at the end.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 18 March 2016 09:05 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

New Morante - the world needs it: http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/W/bo25015883.html

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:35 (three years ago) link

Ferdinando Camon's trilogy "The Fifth Estate" / "Memorial" / "Life Everlasting" is my current Italian tip. The absence of matching English editions of the three is a matter of great regret IMO.

Tim, Thursday, 12 May 2016 15:23 (three years ago) link

The Morante sounds very exciting: I've been meaning to read her for a long time, but I'm not sure where best to start.

one way street, Thursday, 12 May 2016 15:49 (three years ago) link

This + Alexiviech are the most exciting new bks in a while

ows - def Arturo's Island if you can get hold of the out of print copy (did via my library). Arcoeli is on Open Letter and I was talking to someone abt it on twitter as she was raving about it (its how I found out about this). Historia was good at the time and is disappointing when set against her other fiction.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 12 May 2016 18:07 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

I just read "The Unseen" by Nanni Balestrini and it's a fierce novel of (and from) the Autonomia movement of the 70s/80s, brutal, angry, upsetting and highly recommended.

Tim, Wednesday, 22 June 2016 08:47 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

Yet to pick up.

Lads lads: http://www.nyrb.com/collections/forthcoming/products/ernesto?variant=30483108743


Read the Ginzburg in the old translation and its fkn great. Saba is unknown to me and I'm excited.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 20 September 2016 21:55 (three years ago) link

(I get that Ann Goldstein is possibly too boringly literary). Maybe somewhere, but not in the Neapolitan Novels.

dow, Tuesday, 20 September 2016 22:37 (three years ago) link

six months pass...

Review of A Family Lexicon

Got to read this fantatsic piece on Elsa Mornate at the weekend. Not just a review of that book but a beautiful overview of all her works and the little of crit published in English. A must.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 10 April 2017 21:33 (two years ago) link

seven months pass...

So I called Gadda showy for Acquainted with Grief above in the William Weaver translation but now I see Experience of Pain is coming out (I assume its a re-translation as it has a similar set-up, words in either title amount to same).

xyzzzz__, Friday, 17 November 2017 11:06 (one year ago) link

I have that, but having read several other demented books recently i am waiting until the balance of my mind is restored before tackling ut

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Sunday, 19 November 2017 07:45 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Terrific piece on Bassani:


I haven't tackled this piece on Elsa Morante but will do so later:


xyzzzz__, Friday, 25 January 2019 09:00 (eight months ago) link

And I need to read some Bassani - its a gap.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 25 January 2019 09:00 (eight months ago) link

Just been reading him, so thanks for that!

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Friday, 25 January 2019 21:38 (eight months ago) link

ah yeah I saw that.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 26 January 2019 11:11 (eight months ago) link

three months pass...

I just read "The Unseen" by Nanni Balestrini and it's a fierce novel of (and from) the Autonomia movement of the 70s/80s, brutal, angry, upsetting and highly recommended.

― Tim, Wednesday, 22 June 2016 08:47 (two years ago) Permalink

Just seen on my twitter that he has passed away today

xyzzzz__, Monday, 20 May 2019 10:42 (five months ago) link

RIP. I don't stop recommending that book, though I'm not sure anyone has ever read it as a result of my recommendation.

Tim, Monday, 20 May 2019 11:38 (five months ago) link

Gotta say fiction around the struggle are a bit underwhelming to me (Victor Serge is probably best but there are a lot of other things in his fiction as well).

xyzzzz__, Monday, 20 May 2019 11:51 (five months ago) link

Well I agree but this one stands out (and I've only read a bit of Serge but found "The Unseen" even more affecting - it really is unbelievably good.

Tim, Monday, 20 May 2019 18:16 (five months ago) link

Cool, will order

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 21 May 2019 07:48 (five months ago) link

You're welcome to borrow mine, then I won't feel guilty if you don't like it!

Tim, Tuesday, 21 May 2019 08:50 (five months ago) link

Haha would've been fine either way but I was thinking of asking you. Cool will mail you sometime this week to arrange :)

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 21 May 2019 10:13 (five months ago) link

one month passes...

Nice enough account of the latest translations of Ginzburg's quietly tragic books:


xyzzzz__, Saturday, 20 July 2019 13:40 (three months ago) link

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