This post is from Kathryn Longenbach, another of our summer interns. (But one that I haven’t set up with her own account, which is why I’m posting on her behalf. As a fan of Italian literature, she wanted to write up something about this year’s Primo Strega award, which was announced recently.
Since 1947, the Premio Strega has been one of the most prestigious Italian literary awards. Every year, a jury (now containing 400 members) chooses five recently published works of fiction as finalists. From these finalists, the jury chooses one winner to receive the prize. After an incredibly close race, the 2012 Premio Strega was awarded to Alessandro Piperno’s Inseparabili, il fuoco dei ricordi (published by Mondadori). Emanuele Trevi’s Qualcosa di scritto (Ponte alle Grazie) finished as the runner up by a margin of merely two votes: Piperno’s work received 126 votes while Trevi’s received 124. Il silenzio dell’onda (Rizzoli), by Gianrico Carofiglio, came in a close third with 119 votes.
Here are short write-ups about all three finalists:
Alessandro Piperno’s Inseparabili, il fuoco dei ricordi, follows a pair of brothers, Filippo and Samuel Pontecorvo (also the protagonists of Piperno’s Persecuzione). Piperno describes the struggles of the Pontecorvo family as Filippo unexpectedly rises to fame while Samuel finds himself in the midst of various financial and emotional crises.
Emanuele Trevi’s Qualcosa di scritto tells the story of a young writer who finds work in the archives of Pier Paolo Pasolini (Italian writer, poet, and director). Throughout the novel, Trevi describes various events that lead to the inevitable withdrawal from an era of naïve adolescence and the initiation into a world full of secrets and mystery.
Il silenzio dell’onda by Gianrico Carofiglio, focuses on the life of an ex-undercover agent named Roberto Marias. He spent his life being forced to lie, cheat, and hide and is now living in the effects his corrupt past. Through interactions with various characters (notably his psychiatrist), however, Marias begins to set on a path towards redemption.
Upon completing Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal I was left to wonder why it ever fell from print. Aside from the location, Astragal could pass as the great American novel. Its edginess and rawness capture the angst and desires we all had. . .
When my eyes first crossed the back cover of Fabio Genovesi’s novel Live Bait, I was caught by a blurb nestled between accolades, a few words from a reviewer for La Repubblica stating that the novel was, however magically, “[b]eyond. . .
“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .
With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .
In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .
You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . .
The narrative history of. . .
Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is. . .
Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn is a set of two loosely interlinked novellas that play with narrative and the construction of character. Ably translated by Ann Goldstein, Mr. Gwyn plays some subtle metafictional games as Baricco delves into what it means. . .
I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really. . .
Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist. . .