cover image The Twenty Days of Turin

The Twenty Days of Turin

Giorgio De Maria, trans. from the Italian by Ramon Glazov. Liveright, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-63149-229-7

First published in Italy in 1977, De Maria’s cult classic makes its English-language debut. What was behind the series of bizarre deaths labeled the 20 Days of Turin? Though some believed the unsettling period was a “dire warning signal from on high addressed to humanity,” others dismissed it as just a “phenomenon of collective psychosis.” Ten years after the event, De Maria’s unnamed narrator pursues the truth in this subtle, enigmatic novel, which contains some eerily prescient predictions about the ways people would communicate in the Internet era. The violence began when someone, or something, killed Giovanni Bergesio, a bank employee, by slamming his body into a tree. The narrator interviews the dead man’s sister, who relates that her brother was certain that two of the city’s statues had switched places shortly before his death. The oddities multiply after an interview with an attorney, who reports hearing some terrifying screams at the time of Bergesio’s murder that had something “gray and metallic” behind them. De Maria (1924–2009) excels at creating a growing sense of cosmic menace in this mesmerizing work of literate horror. (Feb.)