MIRCEA CĂRTĂRESCU ABBACINANTE. IL CORPO. (Blinding) - Voland - Translation by Bruno Mazzoni
Mircea Cartarescu was born in Bucharest in 1956. He is a poet, novelist, musician and journalist, a member of the Romanian Writers’ Union, the Romanian PEN and the European Cultural Parliament. He is one of the most interesting writers from Eastern Europe. He has won many important prizes, both in Romania and internationally, such as the 2012 Berlin Prize for Literature, the 2013 Spycher-Leuk in Switzerland and the 2015 Austrian State Prize for European Literature. His books published in Italy are: The Levant (1990), Nostalgia (1993), Travesti (1994), and Blinding (1996-2007).
One of the most dazzling and original books of our epoch, Blinding is filled with hallucinatory insects, half-human, bugs and butterflies, as in Naked Lunch. It is a mythical autobiography like José Lezama Lima’s Paradiso. It is as original and inventive as One Hundred Years of Solitude, and will probably inspire as many other writers in as many languages. But it is pointless to make so many comparisons since it is utterly original:unique.
It has a strong medical theme as we visit several times Bucharest’s hopelessly inadequate clinics—and the narrator fries hisbrains out when, unattended, he administers to himself electro-shocks. He shares a ward with two psychopathic, sadistic girls who pretend to be well behaved whenever a nurseor doctor is present but otherwise plot to humiliate and hurt him.
The narrator is weirdly attached to his mother and has grotesque fantasies about her. He is often shunted down mysterious chutes (under a tree, beneath the hospital) intodazzling worlds populated by thousands of hybrid monsters. The history of Rumania and the unremarkable life of Mircea roll past,strangely intertwined but always in nightmarish versions. Everything obeys an oneiric logic—sudden shifts in scale, probability, location and genera. One moment we are in a high-rise Soviet-style apartment bloc, a structure outfitted with an eerie elevator (a butterfly hatchery) and mysterious, tenantless floors, and the next moment we are in a public park contemplating busts of national heroes.
The writing is so electric and unpredictable that the reader can’t turn the pages fast enough.The book we are reading is often invoked, even as it is being written. The urban and village life of Rumania is juxtaposed. The narrator as child has his own mythic perception of the bombing of Bucharest in World War II. Human sacrifice, fantasies about New Orleans, religious heresies, endless screaming—this book is on the very border of madness, like Les Chants de Maldoror. Perhaps it is held together by its innocent, questing, youthful narrator, who fears everything, accepts everything, studies everything. This is a book of marvels, a circus populated by beauties and beasts, a text that bursts through the doors of perception and regales us with prodigies of imagery and invention. Because it is alternately evil and enchanting, it is always fresh and unpredictable. Catarescu is a modern prose Hieronymous Bosch and Blindingis his Garden of Earthly Delights.
2016 X EDITION FINALISTS
DANY LAFERRIÈRE TUTTO SI MUOVE IN TORNO A ME (The world is moving around me) - 66thand2nd - Translation by Giuseppe Grimonti Greco and Francesca Scala
Dany Laferrière was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1953, and in 1976 left his country to settle in Montreal. After a variety of work, he became well-known as a journalist. In 1985, he published his first novel, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, later made into a film. In 2009, he won the Prix Médicis with his book The Return. In 2013, he was elected to the Académie Française on the first round of balloting, occupying the “seat of Montesquieu,” becoming not only the first Haitian and the first Canadian to receive the honor, but also the second black writer ever to have been inducted. His books published in Italy are: Heading South (2006), Down Among the Dead Men (2006) and The World Is Moving Around Me (2010).
YIYUN LI PIÙ GENTILE DELLA SOLITUDINE (Kinder than solitude) - Einaudi - Translation Laura Noulian
Yiyun Li was born in Beijing in 1972. In 1996, she graduated from Medical School and subsequently moved to the USA. She now lives in California. Her pieces have been published in magazines such as «The Paris Review», «Glimmer Train», «Prospect» and «The New Yorker», which in 2010 named her as one of the twenty best novelists under 40. In the same year, she received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. Her first book, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2005), won the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award, the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Guardian First Book Award for Fiction. Her other books published in Italy are: The Vagrants (2009) and Kinder Than Solitude (2014).
DINAW MENGESTU TUTTI I NOSTRI NOMI (All our names) - Frassinelli - Translation by Mariagiulia Castagnone
Dinaw Mengestu was born in Addis Ababa in 1978. At the age of two he moved with his family to join his father in the USA during the “Red Terror.” His first two books, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007) and How to Read the Air (2010), immediately received the attention of critics, and he was awarded some of the most prestigious prizes in the USA, such as the Guardian First Book Award, Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. In 2012 he received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. All Our Names (2014) is his third novel.
LORRIE MOORE BARK (Bark) - Bompiani - Translation by Alberto Pezzotta
Lorrie Moore was born in the USA in 1957. She has contributed to «The Paris Review» and her first short story in «The New Yorker» was included by John Updike in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. She has received many honors, among them the 1988 O'Henry Award and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize for Birds of America. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2005. Her other books published in Italy are: Self-Help (1985), Anagrams (1986), Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? (1994), A Gate at the Stairs (2009) and Bark (2014).
PREMIO GREGOR VON REZZORI for the best translation of a work of foreign fiction
L'ARTE DI COLLEZIONARE MOSCHE (FLY TRAP) by Fredrik Söjberg (Iperborea)
Fulvio Ferrari was born in Milan in 1955. He studied at the University of Turin, Milan and Stockholm. Since 1981 he has worked as a literary translator, translating first from German, then from Swedish, Norwegian and Dutch. During his activity as a translator he edited the Italian versions of some nordic texts and dutch medieval texts. Among the authors translated by Fulvio Ferrari are Hölderlin, Klaus Mann, Sven Delblanc, August Strindberg, Göran Tunström, Stig Dagerman, Fredrik Sjöberg, Knut Hamsun, Cees Nooteboom and Adriaan van Dis. He is currently Director of the Department of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Trento.