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History was written nearly thirty years after Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia spent a year in hiding among remote farming villages in the mountains south of Rome. There she witnessed the full impact of the war and first formed the ambition to write an account of what history - the great political events driven by men of power, wealth, and ambition - does when it reaches the realm of ordinary people struggling for life and bread. The central character in this powerful and unforgiving novel is Ida Mancuso, a schoolteacher whose husband has died and whose feckless teenage son treats the war as his playground. A German soldier on his way to North Africa rapes her, falls in love with her, and leaves her pregnant with a boy whose survival becomes Ida's passion. Around these two other characters come and go, each caught up by the war which is like a river in flood. We catch glimpses of bombing raids, street crimes, a cattle car from which human cries emerge, an Italian soldier succumbing to frostbite on the Russian front, the dumb endurance of peasants who have lived their whole lives with nothing and now must get by with less than nothing.
Winner of France's prestigious Prix Goncourt and a runaway bestseller, Jean Echenoz's I'm Gone is the ideal introduction to the sly wit, unique voice, and colorful imagination of "the master magician of the contemporary French novel" (The Washington Post). Nothing less than a heist caper, an Arctic adventure story, a biting satire of the art world, and a meditation on love and lust and middle age all rolled into one fast-paced, unpredictable, and deliriously entertaining novel, I'm Gone tells the story of an urbane art and antiques dealer who abandons his wife and career to pursue a memorably pathetic international crime spree."Crisp and erudite" (The Wall Street Journal), "seductive and delicately ironic" (The Economist), and with an unexpected sting in its tail, I'm Gone--translated by Mark Polizzotti--is a dazzling, postmodern subversion of narrative conventions and an amused look at the absurdities of modern life. With a wink and a nod and a keen eye for the droll detail, Echenoz invites the reader "to enjoy I'm Gone in the same devil-may-care spirit in which it is offered" (The Boston Sunday Globe).
Lily, Molly, and Inez are women of a certain age, of a certain bearing, of a certain class. Late one dire night, Molly telephones from Connecticut to catch Lily up with the news: Inez's corpse -- near-naked but wearing boots -- has been discovered propped up "like a broom" in a corner of her Soho loft. It is an occasion ripe for an all-night heart-to-heart conversation, bouncing deliriously from one evasion to the next -- until the pair of talk-crazy, talk-weary women have successfully diverted themselves with all the wonderfully vagrant stuff of life . . . with everything, in fact, except grief.
In an elegant and penetrating first short-story collection, Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived, Lily Tuck's characters travel to unknown, exotic places and, while there, find themselves deeply immersed in observation -- of the natives, the local customs, the foreign landscape -- in an effort to discern some elemental truth about who they themselves are. Instead, these women meet with disorientation, confusion; they are disappointed by the people closest to them -- lovers, husbands, family members. Finally, they arrive at the sometimes heartbreaking but ultimately optimistic realization that the answers they seek lie not in other people or places but within themselves. Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived is a brilliant collection from a writer of exceptional poise and insight.
The year is l854. In Paris, Francisco Solano -- the future dictator of Paraguay -- begins his courtship of the young, beautiful Irish courtesan Ella Lynch with a poncho, a Paraguayan band, and a horse named Mathilde. Ella follows Franco to Asunción and reigns there as his mistress. Isolated and estranged in this new world, she embraces her lover's ill-fated imperial dream -- one fueled by a heedless arrogance that will devastate all of Paraguay.With the urgency of the narrative, rich and intimate detail, and a wealth of skillfully layered characters, The News from Paraguay recalls the epic novels of Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.
Claire, the young bride of a government contractor, arrives in Bangkok with her husband on March 9, 1967, the day U.S. planes begin bombing runs on North Vietnam. At a dinner party, she meets and befriends Jim Thompson, the real-life American entrepreneur and founder of the Thai Silk Company. Weeks later, on Easter Sunday, Thompson vanishes without a trace in the Thai highlands. As the political implications of Thompson's disappearance surface, Claire becomes increasingly obsessed with his fate. Her quest into what happened, fueled by the longing and loneliness she feels in an exotic land marked by growing unrest, leads to a tragic truth that becomes a metaphor for two cultures in collision. Written in powerful, arresting prose, this taut suspense novel further establishes Lily Tuck as a major voice in literary fiction.
The first biography in any language of one of the most celebrated Italian writers of the twentieth century. Born in 1912 to an unconventional family of modest means, Elsa Morante grew up with an independent spirit, a formidable will, and an unshakable commitment to writing. Forced to hide from the Fascists during World War II in a remote mountain hut with her husband, renowned author Alberto Moravia, she re-emerged at war's end to take her place among the premier Italian writers of her day. When Rome was film capital of the world, she counted Pasolini, Visconti, and the young Bertolucci among her circle of friends. She was charismatic, beautiful, and fiercely intelligent; her marriage, a passionate union of literary giants, captivated a nation; her love affairs were intense and often tragic. And until now few Americans have known of this remarkable woman and her powerful, original talent.