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Articles tagged "Italy"

“Frantumaglia” by Elena Ferrante

Originally published by Edizioni E/O in Italian in 2003 and then progressively augmented with new material in subsequent editions, Elena Ferrante’s Frantumaglia features short notes and meditations by Ferrante, carefully selected correspondence between Ferrante and her publishers, as well as a variety of interviews with both Italian journalists and members of the international press. As Sandra Ozzola––one of the publishers of the edition––informs readers, this...

WWB Weekend: When the Earth Moves

Image: Local prefecture in L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy, after the 2009 earthquake. Wikimedia Commons. This week’s horrific earthquake in central Italy sends us back to the accounts of other quakes elsewhere, as survivors testify to the geographical and emotional havoc wrought by natural disasters. Dany Laferrière’s telegraphic “The World Is Moving around Me” captures the hallucinatory aftermath of the 2013 Haitian earthquake; he...

Dispatches from the Festival degli Scrittori, Florence, Italy

Image: Dany Laferrière (center) and Alba Donati (right) at the 2016 Festival degli Scrittori at Palazzo Strozzi. On June 6-8, writers, translators, and publishers from around the world gathered in Florence for the tenth annual Festival degli Scrittori and Gregor von Rezzori Prize, awarded to a work of foreign fiction translated into Italian. Founded in 2007 in honor of novelist and memoirist Gregor von Rezzori, the prize and the festival surrounding it are organized by the...

The True Story of “Faccetta Nera”

“I was on a TV talk show the other day, and something curious happened.” Those are the opening words of a Facebook post that Maryan Ismail, an Italo-Somali political activist, published recently. The curious thing that happened occurred in a television studio. Maryan, who is a longtime political activist working in Milan, has made up her mind to express her defiance of racism by speaking openly everywhere she can, including on TV. Of course, she doesn’t talk about...

The World’s Bloom: Three Italian Poets

Recently a neighbor in Parma brought over a small, green cactus with a telescopic protuberance; she announced that its cocoon-like blossom would start to open at nine o’clock and die two days later. “The event is a marvel,” she says. “What’s the name of the cactus?” I ask. She isn’t sure. She only remembers that her mother had called that kind of round cactus “il mondo,” the world. At nine, the reddish spindle at the tip...

Dispatch from Florence’s Festival degli Scrittori

The ninth annual Festival degli Scrittori and the Premio von Rezzori, a Florence-based literary festival that culminates in a ceremony conferring the Premio von Rezzori for best foreign literary work and best translation of a foreign work, was held from June 10 through  June 12, 2015. It opened with a provocative Lectio Magistralis by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri, and concluded with the announcement that Vladimir Sorokin was this year’s winner of the Premio, as...

from “Morti di Sonno”

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If one of those things explodes, the city’ll blow up too.


I Remember

I remember the summer storms during the rainy season when the wind flung open the windows and lifted the contents of the rooms in a swirling dance. Streaks of lightening lit up the gray sky and the thunder was like the angry scream of the entire universe, unleashed right there, in that very spot. I remember, between the crashing of the thunder and the flashes of lightening, old Haimanot hiding under the ironing table in the living room, alternately shouting, "Wai! Gud reichiben! Oh God,...

The World Between: Writing from Ethiopia and Italy

Ethiopia has historically been a closed country, shielded by difficult geography and fiercely protective leaders who mistrusted the ever-invasive, ever-greedy foreigners that did manage to come in. In 1896, the great Battle of Adwa proved to the world that the small African nation could fight off—and defeat—an invading European army (Italy) with colonial aspirations. Ethiopia remained independent. Forty years later, in 1935, Benito Mussolini reminded his people of Adwa as his...

from “Etenesh”

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When we get to Tripoli, you're on your own.


Pride in Padua

Before you head out to your local pride parade, stop by Padua's, courtesy of Matteo Bianchi's "Maternal Pride." Bianchi's droll panorama captures both the teeming crowd and the individual stories within. Kylie Minogue fanatic Marco, still dizzy from having shared his water bottle with his idol at a concert the week before, sports a homemade T-shirt attesting to the miracle. Veterans Andrea, Davide, and Luca, fresh from the celebrations in Rome and Milan, discover the smaller...

Horst

I’m thirty-nine. I’m a chemist, graduate of the university of ****. For the last twelve years I’ve been working as a lab technician for a pharmaceutical company. Practically speaking, I’m a hired hand, because the creative part of our work all belongs to our bosses, the illustrious professors and scientists who design our research programs according to the needs of the company. Among the eggheads who work with us there’s even a Nobel Prize winner who...

The City and the Writer: In Florence with Elisa Biagini

If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.                                                —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities       Can you describe the mood of Florence as you feel/see it? Quoting the Italian...

Moving Like Geckos

I study him while he smokes, lying back, arm behind his head. I watch him release the smoke, breathe it back in and out, thinner now. He’s focused on something in the room but I can’t tell what, maybe my family photos—my mother, my father, the twins—or maybe the cubist still-life painting Donatella gave me. Or maybe he’s not looking at anything at all, just as high as his eyes can reach in this room that’s only twenty meters square. I study him, study...

Making a Scene

When I was little I watched a lot of movies, because my mother was always making shirts, my father was painting his pictures to sell, and so to let them work in peace, my grandmother, my mother’s mother, would take us to the Stadium movie house and keep us there, me and my brothers, for two movies back-to-back, the four o’clock and the six o’clock shows. I really liked watching my mother cut along the line to the paper pattern pinned to the cloth, and I liked it even...

Diary

Ravenna, October 15, 1963 Finally, after a year’s delay, we are in Ravenna. Just a week left before the first take. The Red Desert will be born after a long and difficult gestation. Those of us here with Antonioni: Di Palma, the lighting director, Poletti, the architect, Gianni Arduini, and myself. These are the last days of our feverish preparation. Setting: difficulties with Giuliana’s house. The place on the Candiano has the right kind of view of the ships, but the...

from “Dream Diary”

Marcello had just pulled up the last tent stake with a hammer and Monica’s ice ax when he saw something on the stake that left him stunned. The stake, like the others, was thirty centimeters long, metal, and pointed on one end and slightly hooked on the other, so it could be pounded down with the hammer. After he’d pushed the stakes through the elastic loops on all four corners of the nylon tent, Marcello drove them into the ground with the hammer, and now—exactly nine...

from “The Homecoming Party”

After lunch, my grandmother always insisted we go take a nap. I would stretch out on the little bed with my eyes closed and as soon as her breathing slowed, I’d go downstairs and straight out the sea door. There was never anyone around. The road and the beach were empty, and the town seemed to be sleeping too. Occasionally the desolate cry of a seagull echoed across the water, frightening me. One day, as I was walking toward the beach, I spotted the man with salt-and-pepper hair...

Immolation

Husband and wife contemplate the silhouette of the tower. The woman feels particularly affectionate, and she hugs her husband. "I really wanted to make this trip." They kiss. The husband caresses his wife's hair. They look at the tower again. "What time do we have to be in Florence?" the woman asks. "In the evening. Are you hungry? Should we get the car and go have lunch someplace close by?" "Yes, but let's go to the top of the tower first." "The tower? No way."...

Pride in Padua

Before you head out to your local pride parade, stop by Padua's, courtesy of Matteo Bianchi's "Maternal Pride." Bianchi's droll panorama captures both the teeming crowd and the individual stories within. Kylie Minogue fanatic Marco, still dizzy from having shared his water bottle with his idol at a concert the week before, sports a homemade T-shirt attesting to the miracle. Veterans Andrea, Davide, and Luca, fresh from the celebrations in Rome and Milan, discover the smaller...

Italian


Run

To Tonino, for the bracelet. Every time I cross this street, I always choose the same spot: I walk sort of kitty-corner from the traffic island, or straight as an arrow along the crosswalk, as if the cars had stopped to let me pass. Or else, stepping down from the trolley, without an umbrella, I run to take shelter under the awning outside the pharmacy. But I always cross Via Marina at this same spot, I don't do it on purpose—that is, I do it on purpose, but without wanting...

Sweating and Swearing in “Clash of Civilizations”

In the opening chapter of Amara Lakhous's gritty mosaic, Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, Parviz Mansoor interrupts his rambling monologue to comment on the way language is used by the nosy doorwoman, Benedetta: Guaglio' is Benedetta's favorite word. As you know, guaglio' means "fuck" in Neapolitan. At least, that's what a lot of Neapolitans I've worked with have told me. Every time she sees me head for the elevator she starts...

Speaks about “Clash of Civilizations”

"Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio" could be called a book about translation. It's the story of people from different cultures trying to live together in one place—a country, a city, a square, an apartment building, an elevator, even. Different customs, different languages, different foods. It takes place in Rome, in the neighborhood around Piazza Vittorio, where immigrants from all over the world have settled; the dominant culture, the host, so to...

An Introduction to Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

"Doesn't make any difference who we are or what we are," a cholera germ announces in one of Twain's stories, "there's always somebody to look down on!" No recent novel illustrates the truth of this axiom with more precision, intelligence, and humor than Amara Lakhous's Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, which is exactly what the title promises, except better. It's a satirical but not unsympathetic examination of the events leading up to a murder...

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