Words in Commotion and Other Stories

Tommaso Landolfi, Author, Italo Calvino, Introduction by Viking Books $17.95 (275p) ISBN 978-0-670-80518-1
Little known in this country when he died in 1979, Landolfi is scarcely better recognized today, a situation this collection of 24 stories, with an introduction by Italo Calvino, is intended to remedy. Landolfi did not aspire to amuse or entertain in the usual sense; he preferred to confound and mystify. Even in his relatively conventional stories he scarcely bothered to inquire into motive or seek resolution. In ""Uxoricide,'' for example, a wife-murderer sets out to kill the shrew for reasons that do not seem quite sufficient, so that the act itself appears brutal and sadistic. In ``A Woman's Breast,'' a man lusts after that part of a stranger until he attains it, is thereupon sickened by the sight and discovers odd morbidities within himself. Landolfi's overriding interestslanguage and its literary possibilities, metaphysics, literary criticismnecessarily limit his audience. He saw the writer as one who spits words (see the title story), and he set himself against the critics who accused him of being ``utterly indecipherable and mysterious.'' That is, however, a challenge hurled at the reader. QPBC alternate (October 8)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1986
Release date: 10/01/1986
Paperback - 273 pages - 978-0-14-009477-0
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