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Hypochondria, insomnia, restlessness, and yearning are the lame muses of these brief pages. I would have liked to call them Extravaganzas . . . because many of them wander about in a strange outside that has no inside, like drifting splinters. . . . Alien to any orbit, I have the impression they navigate in familiar spaces whose geometry nevertheless remains a mystery; let's say domestic thickets: the interstitial zones of our daily having to be, or bumps on the surface of existence . . . In them, in the form of quasi-stories, are the murmurings and mutterings that have accompanied and still accompany me: outbursts, moods, little ecstasies, real or presumed emotions, grudges, and regrets. --Antonio Tabucchi on The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico
Set in the sweltering summer of 1938 in Portugal, a country under the Fascist shadow of its neighbor, Spain, Italian author Tabucchi's movingly restrained novel tells a tale of quiet, reluctant heroism. Dr. Peirera, the overweight, middle-aged editor of the cultural page of a second-rate Lisbon newspaper, wants nothing to do with European politics.
As the collection's title suggests, time's passage is the fil rouge of these stories. All of Tabucchi's characters struggle to find routes of escape from a present that is hard to bear, and from places in which political events have had deeply personal ramifications for their own lives. Each of the nine stories in Time Ages in a Hurry is an imaginative inquiry into something hidden or disguised, which can be uncovered not by reason but only by feeling and intuition, by what isn't said. Disquieted and disoriented yet utterly human in their loves and fears, the characters in these vibrant and often playful stories suffer from what Tabucchi once referred to as a "corrupted relationship with history." Each protagonist must confront phantoms from the past, misguided or false beliefs, and the deepest puzzles of identity--and each in his or her own way ends up experiencing "an infinite sense of liberation, as when finally we understand something we'd known all along and didn't want to know."
By Antonio Tabucchi, one of the most renowned voices in European literature and the foremost Italian writer of his generation, The Woman of Porto Pim is made up of enchanting, hallucinatory fragments that take place on the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal. Told by a visiting Italian writer unearthing legends, relics and histories of the inhabitants, the tales shed light on a local restaurant proprietress¢s impossible love with an Azorean fisherman during WWII, a dazzling whaling expedition of eras past, shipwrecks both metaphorical and real, and a playful look at humankind from the perspective of a whale.
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