Candido


Leonardo Sciascia - 1977
    Child, adolescent and man, he is drawn into many difficulties by his affliction. "Things are always simple," he says-in religion, politics and human affairs. But the Lie is at work, and the consequences are all too clear in Candido's Sicily - a land 'dreamed', but no less real for that. Untruth comes in a dozen shapes and brings with it a huge burden of injustice and suffering. It can be outfaced only by innocence.

City


Alessandro Baricco - 1999
    Somewhere in America lives a brilliant boy named Gould, an intellectual guided missile aimed at the Nobel Prize. His only companions are an imaginary giant and an imaginary mute. Improbably—and yet with impeccable logic--he falls into the care of Shatzy Shell, a young woman whose life up till that point has been equally devoid of human connection . Theirs is a relationship of stories and of stories within stories: of Gould’s evolving saga of an underdog boxer and the violent Western that Shatzy has been dictating into a tape recorder since the age of six. Out of these stories, Alessandro Baricco creates a masterpiece of metaphysical pulp fiction that recalls both Scheherazade and Italo Calvino. By turns exhilarating and deeply moving, City is irresistible.

Loveless Love


Luigi Pirandello - 2005
    In each of these tales, Luigi Pirandello captures all the pain and tragedy of loveless love. Nobel Prize-winning Luigi Pirandello is one of Italy’s most distinguished and influential literary figures.

Boredom


Alberto Moravia - 1960
    This powerful and disturbing study in the pathology of modern life is one of the masterworks of a writer whom as Anthony Burgess once remarked, was "always trying to get to the bottom of the human imbroglio."

Don't Move


Margaret Mazzantini - 2001
    As Timoteo’s tale begins, he’s driving to the beach house where his beautiful, accomplished wife, Elsa, is waiting. Car trouble forces him to make a detour into a dingy suburb, where he meets Italia–unattractive, unpolished, working-class–who awakens a part of him he scarcely recognizes. Disenchanted with his stable life, he seizes the chance to act without consequences, and their savage first encounter spirals into an inexplicable obsession. Returning again and again to Italia’s dim hovel, he finds himself faced with a choice: a life of passion with Italia, or a life of comfort and predictability with Elsa. As Angela's life hangs in the balance, Timoteo's own life flashes before his eyes, this time seen through the lens of the one time he truly lived.

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."

I Want It Now


Kingsley Amis - 1968
    But as he comes closer to his prize other questions present themselves. Is the androgenous Simona really worth it? Why doesn't she like sex? Is it possible to drink all day? With his unerring eye for absurdity and class satire Kingsley Amis shows us what happens when money meets naked ambition.

Follow Your Heart


Susanna Tamaro - 1994
    Originally published in Italy, "Follow Your Heart" won the coveted Premio Donna Citta di Roma and sold over 800,000 copies in that country alone before hitting bestseller lists throughout the rest of Europe. Now North American readers can enjoy the novel that has won over the world.It begins in late autumn 1992 as an elderly Italian woman, prompted by the knowledge of her encroaching death, sits down to write a letter to her granddaughter now grown and living in far-off America. Through these moving reflections, we see one life laid bare--joys, sorrows, regrets, and all. And through the eyes of a woman nearing the end of her days, we come to understand what life experience has taught her: that no matter what the stakes, we must look within ourselves and gather the courage to follow our hearts.

Bad Sex


Clancy Martin - 2015
    It also talks about alcoholism, self-destruction, and what it means to love. The protagonist, Brett, a recovering alcoholic writer living in Mexico, begins a love affair with Eduard, her husband's banker.

Una vita


Italo Svevo - 1892
    The artistic aspirations of the protagonist and the emptiness of his daily life become tragic in the great divide between what he wants and what he actually has and gets. Alfonso the bank clerk wants to be a poet and seems to be falling in love with Annetta, the vain and arrogant daughter of his boss. But the emptiness of both his attempts at writing and at love lead to an ironic and painful conclusion.

Like Family


Paolo Giordano - 2014
    His new novel features his trademark character-driven narrative and intimate domestic setting that first made him an international sensation. When Signora A first enters the narrator’s home, his wife, Nora, is experiencing a difficult pregnancy. First as their maid and nanny, then their confidante, this older woman begins to help her employers negotiate married life, quickly becoming the glue in their small household. She is the steady, maternal influence for both husband and wife, and their son, Emanuele, whom she protects from his parents’ expectations and disappointments. But the family’s delicate fabric comes undone when Signora A is diagnosed with cancer. Moving seamlessly between the past and present, Giordano highlights with remarkable precision the joy of youth and the fleeting nature of time. An elegiac, heartrending, and deeply personal portrait of marriage and the people we choose to call family, this is a jewel of a novel—short, intense, and unforgettable.

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

Little Novels of Sicily


Giovanni Verga - 1883
    Verga's style is swift, sure, and implacable; he plunges into his stories almost in midbreath, and tells them with a stark economy of words. There's something dark and tightly coiled at the heart of each story, an ironic, bitter resolution that is belied by the deceptive simplicity of Verga's prose, and Verga strikes just when the reader's not expecting it. Translator D. H. Lawrence surely found echoes of his own upbringing in Verga's sketches of Sicilian life: the class struggle between property owners and tenants, the relationship between men and the land, and the unsentimental, sometimes startlingly lyric evocation of the landscape. Just as Lawrence veers between loving and despising the industrial North and its people, so too Verga shifts between affection for and ironic detachment from the superstitious, uneducated, downtrodden working poor of Sicily. If Verga reserves pity for anyone or anything, it is the children and the animals, but he doesn't spare them. In his experience, it is the innocents who suffer first and last and always.

The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro


Antonio Tabucchi - 1997
    Tabucchi has now written a thriller, but one with a subtle intellectual depth not usual in that genre. The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro intriguingly reflects on current social issues: crime, police corruption, yellow journalism, and the courts -- both of the law and of public opinion. Tabucchi hooks the reader on page one of this book and the story advances with electric and unflagging suspense. A gypsy discovers a headless body; Firmino, a young journalist who writes for a scandal-sheet, takes up the case; the headless corpse turns out to be that of one Damasceno Monteiro, an employee at an import-export company who, having stumbled upon a heroin smuggling ring at his work, had stolen a drug shipment; and, the police are supressing evidence -- all the stuff of familiar daily news, here made riveting in the hands of a rare and brilliant writer.

Leaving Eden


Anne D. LeClaire - 2002
    (What she really enjoys is listening to the women chat, gossip, and buzz like a beehive.) The sign in the front window announces GLAMOUR DAY. For twenty dollars, a woman can receive a complete professional makeover—and a glossy nine-by-twelve-inch picture of the result. For Tallie, the glam shot just may be her ticket out of Lovettsville. She dreams of someday going to Hollywood and becoming a Star. Her mother, who was the spitting image of Natalie Wood, used to say “the sky’s the limit.” In fact, her mother once left home to make a movie in Los Angeles. But she returned six months later without whispering a word about it—and tried to pick up her life right where she left off. Tallie noticed something different, though. And her mother’s best friend, Martha Lee, the plainest woman within miles, knew the secret that soon the whole town would discover. At the time, Tallie was just afraid her mother would get antsy and disappear again. She was only half right.But that was four years ago, and now Glamour Day is fast approaching. While jotting down observations in her Rulebook for Living (such as “Women with fat faces shouldn’t wear bangs” and “Beetles signify change”), Tallie finds herself changing in unexpected ways—as she tests the limits of trust, explores her growing attraction to a boy from a family as rich as her imagination, and reaches for the sky like she has never done before. By turns funny and tender, joyous and poignant, bestselling author Anne LeClaire has written a winning, stylish novel of small-town Southern life— and what it means to be a mother, daughter, best friend, wife, and lover.From the Hardcover edition.