Tag: Italy

Wild States of Being

A lacquered blue cube and a cat named Labes: these nonhuman characters shed unforgiving light on human frailty in the wrenching new novel by Italian writer Domenico Starnone, Ties, scrupulously ...

Ferrante’s Secret Mirror

Last fall’s noisy dispute around Elena Ferrante’s biographical identity ignited a wealth of contrasting yet instructive reactions. Whether troubled or newly admiring or indifferent to the apparent ...

The Ferrante Paradox

Reading Frantumaglia, the new collection of letters, interviews, and occasional prose from Elena Ferrante, I was struck by how often the author opened her correspondence with an apology. “I apologize ...

From Berlusconismo to Trumpismo

With America’s national neuroses thrust into collective view by the ongoing election season, the lure of long-form TV is more powerful than ever. Fortunately for the soul that abhors primary numbers ...

Caravaggio’s Hair

Human hair, as Álvaro Enrigue points out in Sudden Death, is the only part of the human body that does not rot. It accordingly plays a starring role in the novel, which is as interested in the ...

Jhumpa Lahiri’s Modernist Turn

Jhumpa Lahiri’s In altre parole announces the birth of a modernist. Written in hard-won Italian and reverberating with the energy of early 20th-century literary experiment, In altre parole describes ...

Ferrante, in History

What happens when the most ambitious rethinking of the politics of realism in recent memory can’t be attached to a face? (Can they give the Nobel Prize to a pseudonym?) Now that the Neapolitan ...

Chronicle of a Soul: Roberto Saviano

“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” The old adage might be a fit translation of what many Italians thought when Roberto Saviano received death threats from the Camorra (the Neapolitan ...

Enrigue’s Backspin

Four-fifths of the way through Álvaro Enrigue’s Muerte súbita (Sudden Death), the narrator admits that he doesn’t know what the book is about. It’s not about the birth of tennis as a popular sport ...

Futurist Cheerfulness

In the domain of games and toys, as in all passéist manifestations, one sees only grotesque imitation, timidity (miniature trains, little cars, dolls that can’t move, cretinous caricatures of ...

Unreliable Voices From Europe

The first sentence of the Slovakian writer Balla’s “Before the Breakup,” the opening story in Best European Fiction 2013, goes like this: “Miša discovered there was something in the apartment.” The ...

Naples into Words

In My Brilliant Friend, the fourth and most recent novel by Elena Ferrante to be translated into English, all by Ann Goldstein, Naples provides the absorbing backdrop to the narrator-protagonist ...