front cover of Beautiful Women
Beautiful Women
Giuseppe Antonio Borgese
Northwestern University Press, 2001

front cover of Conversations with Primo Levi
Conversations with Primo Levi
Ferdinando Camon
Northwestern University Press, 1989
Beginning in 1982 and at intervals over the next four years Ferdinando Camon traveled to Turin for a series of meetings with Primo Levi. This book is the record of their dialogues. Levi spoke of the war, of anti-Semitism, of the camps, of German guilt, of Israel's emergence, and of his own extraordinary life and work. The give-and-take of the discussion, its tone, its lucidity, its intelligence, lift it well above the level and format of the usual journalistic interview with a celebrated author.

front cover of Navigator of the Flood
Navigator of the Flood
Mario Brelich
Northwestern University Press, 1991
Mario Brelich, a Hungarian author writing in Italian, was a superb ironist. In his three novels, of which this is the first, he explored central episodes of the Old and New Testaments with unsparing wit and intelligence. In Navigator of the Flood, Brelich's Noah is a man laboring under a burden of responsibility by a Lord who appears from time to time to "correct"--at man's expense--His own foreknowledge and omniscience. If Noah finds God's commands at times cruel or incomprehensible, if he still sees beauty in a life now under threat of extinction, and wonders why he and his family should be chosen to survive while all others are condemned to perish, he remains the dutiful and upright patriarch who submits to the role assigned to him.

front cover of Operatic Lives
Operatic Lives
Alberto Savinio
Northwestern University Press, 1988
Writing under the pen name Alberto Savinio, Andrea de Chirico (brother of painter Giorgio) penned fourteen short portraits of such luminaries as the painter Arnold Böcklin, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, Verdi, Stradivarius, Nostradamus, Paracelsus, Jules Verne, the bullfighter Bienvenido, Isadora Duncan, and Carlo Collodi, the creator of Pinocchio. In these biographies, Savinio's complex tone is at times warm and cordial -and, at other times, ironic to the point of malignancy.

front cover of Ruin
Beppe Fenoglio
Northwestern University Press, 1992
Ruin is an acclaimed 1954 novel by Italian Beppe Fenoglio. It's the story of Augustine Braida, a boy who serves the Rabino family, whose first-person account of life in Langhe paints a vivid portrait of  early twentieth-century Italian peasant life. Told with terrible humility and great force, it is a compassionate and harrowing narrative of peasant endurance in the face of overwhelming hardship.

Born into a working-class family in the town of Alba lying in that part of the Piedmont called LeLanghe, Beppe Fenoglio (1922-1963) belonged to the generation of young Italian writers whose works were molded by their World War II experience and the anti-Fascist Resistance many took part in. Fenoglio fought as a partisan against the German troops occupying Italy, and the major part of his literature is connected with the events of the time.

front cover of The Smell of Blood
The Smell of Blood
Goffredo Parise
Northwestern University Press, 2003
A compelling tale of a husband's obsession with his wife's disastrous affair

"A smell very similar to that of slaughterhouses at dawn, but infinitely sweeter and slightly nauseating, or rather, to be more precise, exhilarating."

The smell of blood is really the smell of life. The psychiatrist narrating the story has the power to detect it. His young mistress hungers for it. And his middle-aged wife Silvia has just begun to emanate it--overpoweringly.

Silvia has begun an affair with a violent young idler and neofascist who despises and exploits women. At first her husband reacts with good humor--he has long been unfaithful himself. But jealousy soon colors his curiosity, and his obsession with the details of Silvia's relationship leads to fantasies that become self-fulfilling prophecies. At times coolly analytical, at others driven to know more, the narrator watches as Silvia's actions become more and more self-destructive. When she becomes a slave to her lover's wishes the smell of blood grows stronger, and the odor of life becomes an omen of death.

Goffredo Parise wrote The Smell of Blood in 1979 after suffering a heart attack. Once finished he sealed the manuscript in lead and wax and did not look at it again until a few days before his death in 1986. It was published posthumously in 1997 in Italy.

front cover of The Story of Tonle
The Story of Tonle
Mario Rigoni Stern
Northwestern University Press, 1998
Tönle Bintarn's story takes place in the Veneto region, which once bordered the Austro-Hungarian Empire and where smuggling provided a means of subsistence to the peasants. Having run afoul of revenue agents, Tönle must seek refuge beyond the frontier in Central Europe, where year after year he survives by doing odd jobs and working as an itinerant print peddler, a horse trainer, and a gardener. When he is pardoned he returns home for good to find his children are grown and nothing remains for him but to tend his sheep, while around him Europe spins toward the catastrophe of the Great War--the conflict that will destroy Veneto's unique way of life.

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