The Voyeur

Alberto Moravia - 1978
    Family and other problems haunt him, and he discovers that he has been unable to see for looking. By the Italian author of "The Woman of Rome" and "Contempt", whose books were banned during the years of fascism.

Among Women Only

Cesare Pavese - 1949
    In his brief career, he wrote a number of outstanding novels and was a major factor in introducing American and British fiction to Italy, translating books by Dickens, Melville, Joyce, and Faulkner. He was arrested a number of times for anti-Fascist activities before the war. In 1950, unable to reconcile his literary life with the demands made upon him by society, he took his life. Among Women Only, published two years before Pavese's death, won Italy's highest literary honor, the Strega Prize. Considered to be one of the chief sources for post-war Italian realism, it captures the pervading melancholy and emptiness of a society caught up in decadence and hedonism. Clelia, a successful couturier, returns to her native Turin to supervise the opening of a salon in the city where she spent her youth in poverty. She is drawn into a circle of fashionable young people and a world of restaurants and casinos, artists' studios and parties. Amidst this crowd of people who are trying to escape the futility and boredom of their lives in a mindless search for pleasure, she meets the solitary figure of Rosetta, whose suicide at the end of the story tragically foreshadows Pavese's own.

The Rains Came

Louis Bromfield - 1937
    Hindus and Moslems, Brahmins and Untouchables, western missionaries and British colonial bureaucrats, the famous novelist brings to life the social conditions of the last decade of the British Raj.

Sweet William

Beryl Bainbridge - 1975
    Then she meets William: snub-nosed and generous, cunning and protean. She is first seduced then transfixed as William's past, present and future swirl around her kaleidoscopically, overwhelmingly, and Ann herself is irrevocably changed.


Alessandro Baricco - 1996
    It is the 1860s; Japan is closed to foreigners and this has to be a clandestine operation. During his undercover negotiations with the local baron, Joncour's attention is arrested by the man's concubine, a girl who does not have Oriental eyes. Although the young Frenchman and the girl are unable to exchange so much as a word, love blossoms between them, conveyed by a number of recondite messages in the course of four visits the Frenchman pays to Japan. How their secret affair develops and how it unfolds is told in a narration as beautiful, smooth and seamless as a piece of the finest silk.

Happiness, as Such

Natalia Ginzburg - 1973
    This novel is part epistolary: his mother writes letters to him, nagging him; his sister Angelica writes, missing him; so does Mara, his former lover, telling him about the birth of her son who may be his own. Left to clean up Michele’s mess, his family and friends complain, commiserate, tease, and grieve, struggling valiantly with the small and large calamities of their interconnected lives.Natalia Ginzburg's most beloved book in Italy and one of her finest achievements, Happiness, as Such is an original, wise, raw, comic novel that cuts to the bone.

Casanova's Return to Venice

Arthur Schnitzler - 1917
    ONE OF SCHNITZLER'S most poignant evocations of the passing of time and the ironies of sentiment and love, Casanova's Return to Venice tells the story of an ageing Casanova's desperate desire to return to the city he truly loves after a life of exile, a desire which is contrasted with his still libidinous, sensuous yet weary pursuit of women, money and prestige.

ചെമ്മീൻ | Chemmeen

Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai - 1956
    Unable to live with the man she loves, Karutthamma marries Palani, who, despite the scandal about his wife's past, never stops trusting her, a trust that is reaffirmed each time he goes to sea and comes back safe since the 'sea-mother' myth among the fishermen community goes that the safe return of a fisherman depends on the fidelity of his wife. Then, one night, Karutthamma and Pareekkutty meet and their love is rekindled while Palani is at sea, baiting a shark ... The hugely successful novel was adapted into a film of the same name, and won critical acclaim and commercial success. Anita Nair's evocative translation brings this classic of Indian literature to a new generation that hasn't had the opportunity to savour this tale of love and longing.

Reeds in the Wind

Grazia Deledda - 1913
    Deledda presents the story of the Pintor sisters - from a family of noble landowners now in decline - their nephew Giacinto, and their servant Efix, who is trying to make up for a mysterious sin committed many years before. Around, below, and inside them the raging Mediterranean storms, the jagged mountains, the murmuring forests, and the gushing springs form a Greek chorus of witness to the tragic drama of this unforgiving land. Deledda tells her story with her characteristic love of the natural landscape and fascination with the folk culture of the island, with details about the famous religious festivals held in mountain encampments, and the lore of the "dark beings who populate the Sardinian night, the fairies who live in rocks and caves, and the sprites with seven red caps who bother sleep."

Gogol's Wife and Other Stories

Tommaso Landolfi - 1963
    It is based in a prodigious imagination, a very curious sense of humor and a rare command of irony.The short stories included are:- Gogol's Wife- Pastoral- Dialogue on the Greater Harmonies- The Two Old Maids- Wedding Night- The Death of the King of France- Giovanni and His Wife- Sunstroke- A Romantic's Letter on Gambling

The Transposed Heads: A Legend of India

Thomas Mann - 1940
    In a twinned paroxysm, two friends, the intellectual Shridaman and the earthy Nanda, behead themselves. Magically, their severed heads are restored - but to the wrong body, and Shridaman's wife, Sita, is unable to decide which combination represents her real husband. The story is further complicated by the fact that Sita happens to be in love with both men.Mann retells the tale from a metaphysical, yet ironic viewpoint. He strongly reacts to the axiomatic assumption that there is a dichotomy between spirit and life, mind and body. He, like many 20th century writers felt the necessity of reshuffling the present scale of values and meanings by constantly juxtaposing them with older ones.

Mr Palomar

Italo Calvino - 1983
    He is simply seeking knowledge; 'it is only after you have come to know the surface of things that you can venture to seek what is underneath'. Whether contemplating a fine cheese, a hungry gecko, a woman sunbathing topless or a flight of migrant starlings, Mr Palomar's observations render the world afresh.

The Ragazzi

Pier Paolo Pasolini - 1955
    Their lives are shaped by hunger, theft, betrayal, and prostitution, and they celebrate their triumphs with brutal abandon and die bleak deaths. This harsh world is portrayed with an understanding that humanity and even humor can exist amidst a hard and amoral society. A novel that caused a scandal upon its first publication more than 50 years ago, this new translation eloquently captures the gritty Roman slang of the Italian original and tells a story that still resonates powerfully to this day.

The Blind Owl

Sadegh Hedayat - 1936
    Replete with potent symbolism and terrifying surrealistic imagery, Sadegh Hedayat's masterpice details a young man's despair after losing a mysterious lover. And as the author gradually drifts into frenzy and madness, the reader becomes caught in the sandstorm of Hedayat's bleak vision of the human condition. The Blind Owl, which has been translated into many foreign languages, has often been compared to the writing of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Besieged City

Clarice Lispector - 1949
    Lucrécia Neves is ready to marry. Her suitors—soldierly Felipe, pensive Perseu, dependable Mateus—are attracted to her tawdry not-quite-beauty, which is of a piece with Sao Geraldo, the rough-and-ready township she inhabits. Civilization is on its way to this place, where wild horses still roam. As Lucrécia is tamed by marriage, Sao Geraldo gradually expels its horses; and as the town strives for the highest attainment it can conceive—a viaduct—it takes on the progressively more metropolitan manners that Lucrécia, with her vulgar ambitions, desires too. Yet it is precisely through this woman’s superficiality—her identification with the porcelain knickknacks in her mother’s parlor—that Clarice Lispector creates a profound and enigmatic meditation on “the mystery of the thing.” Written in Europe shortly after Clarice Lispector’s own marriage, The Besieged City is a proving ground for the intricate language and the radical ideas that characterize one of her century’s greatest writers—and an ironic ode to the magnetism of the material.