Name and Tears and Other Stories: Forty Years of Italian Fiction

Katherine Jason, Author, Kathrine Jason, Author
Katherine Jason, Author, Kathrine Jason, Author Graywolf Press $17.95 (231p) ISBN 978-1-55597-132-8
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
The essentially humane spirit informing the explosion of literary forms in post-WW II Italy suffuses this collection. Short stories from 26 authors explore such characteristics as neorealism or regionalism, and demonstrate the inventiveness and political implications of recent Italian fiction. Best are the samplings of authors likely to be unfamiliar to Americans, including Gesualdo Bufalino, whose prose is mannered and nearly hallucinatory; the satirist Luigi Malerba; and Guiseppe Pontiggia, with a critical voice that is never arch. Jason, translator of Tommaso Landolfi's Words in Commotion , makes no attempts to canonize. Major figures such as Primo Levi and Elsa Morante are omitted for technical, not ``aesthetic'' reasons, she states; others, including Cesare Pavese, are queerly deemed ``marginal'' to the scope of the omnibus, while still others (e.g., Italo Calvino, Anna Maria Ortese, Natalia Ginzburg) are represented by works that predate by several decades their most developed styles. Jason's preface is as unusually cogent as it is concise; she also supplies helpful thumbnail introductions to each author, along with graceful, distinctive translations. (Aug.)
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