The Italians, John Hooper
Sublime and maddening, fascinating yet baffling, Italy is a country of endless paradox and seemingly unanswerable riddles. John Hooper’s marvellously entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Looking at the facts that lie behind – and often belie – the stereotypes, his revealing book sheds new light on many aspects of Italian life: football and Freemasonry, sex, symbolism and the reason why Italian has twelve words for a coat hanger, yet none for a hangover.
Childhood memoirs and other stories, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the author of one of the most poignant and enduringly popular novels of the twentieth century, left only a few other pieces of fiction when he died prematurely at the age of sixty. Childhood Memories and Other Stories, here presented in a new translation by Stephen Parkin and including previously deleted passages and the unpublished fragment ‘Torretta’, collects all of Lampedusa’s extant shorter fiction and provides a revealing glimpse into the writer’s workshop and the background to the composition of his masterpiece. From the atmospheric recollections of the Palazzo Lampedusa and the Palazzo Filangeri Cuto at the turn of the twentieth century in ‘Childhood Memories’ to the delightful fable ‘The Siren’, from the gently humorous, bitter sweet tones of ‘Joy and the Law’ to ‘The Blind Kittens’ – the first chapter of what was intended to be a sequel to The Leopard – this volume showcases Lampedusa’s unparalleled ob ser vational powers and narrative skills.
Mr Gwyn, Alessandro Baricco
After celebrated author Jasper Gwyn suddenly and publicly announces that he will never write another book, he embarks on a strange new career path as a “copyist,” holding thirty-day sittings in a meticulously appointed room and producing, at the end, brief but profoundly rich portraits in prose. The surprising, beautiful, and even frightening results are received with rapture by their subjects–among them Gwyn’s devoted assistant, Rebecca; a beautiful fabric importer; a landscape painter; Gwyn’s own literary agent; two wealthy newlyweds; a tailor to the Queen; and a very dangerous nineteen-year-old. Then Gwyn disappears, leaving behind only a short note to his assistant–and the portraits.
As Rebecca studies his words, she realizes that the mystery is larger than the simple fact of Gwyn’s whereabouts, and she begins to unravel a lifetime’s worth of clues left by a man who saw so much but said so little, a man whose solitude masked a heart as hungry as hers.