Leaves for reading
Text Gian Paolo Serino
Frassinelli, 288 pages, euro 18,50, translation by Stefano Bortolussi
Much-loved since its debut by an expert on American literature named Norman Mailer, forgotten for decades, Don Carpenter, today much esteemed also by Quentin Tarantino, is now finally available in Italy as well. This novel, one of the three works that Carpenter dedicated to Hollywood, is a veritable ride in the decadent Los Angeles of the Seventies: amidst dreams come true but especially those broken by the myriad of lights of the cinema that in real life just reflects darkness, Carpenter signs one of the hard boiled American novels able to silence acclaimed Thomas Pynchon of Vice and to scare even the genius of James Ellroy. Don Carpenter, as written by Mailer, gifts us with a superb, rapid, bright, affectionate, ironic, melancholy prose, rich in conscious suffering and cosmic optimism. And above all a very topical metaphor about the myriad of lights of America which anesthetize its dreams instead of fulfilling them.
Stephen King and Owen King
Sperling&Kupfner, 672 pages, euro 21,90, translation by Giovanni Arduino
Whilst from 19th October the movie inspired by It will be out, we suggest you to reserve Sleeping Beauties, the new novel signed by Stephen King with his youngest children, Owen, to be issued on 21st November. Published last week in the United States (for those who read it in the original language the e-book is worth it for once) it is the best King ever read. Distant from Carrie, Shining or Misery – the films were better than the novels – King recovers his best expression: the one of On Writing (autobiography – confession on the ‘work of writing’ which not always corresponds to the work of living). This novel tells a world in which suddenly women disappear (the greatest horror conceivable) and is set in a town suspended between To Kill a Mockingbird and Peyton Place. This is a chance also for discovering Owen King, who is the real talent of the family, as he had already proven with We’re all in this together (Frassinelli) and Double Feature (which is still unissued in Italy unluckily): the story of Sam Dolan, a film director working on his first movie interpreted by his father Booth Dolan, «a writer and a ham actor, a swindler by profession». What a metaphor…
Fazi, 412 pages, euro 18, translation by Stefano Tummolini
Winner of the National Book Award this docu-fiction takes us through the story of Octavian Augustus, who in 31 BC put an end to the age of civil wars in Rome with the victory of the Battle of Actium. He concentrated all the power in his hands and he ensured a long period of peace and prosperity never seen before in the Roman empire. Augustus was able to improve the image of his government thanks to a learned political propaganda, availing himself of the best intellects of the time (from Suetonius to Plutarch). A novel, based on real historical sources, which is also able to plunge us into a world so full of intricacy, luxury, cynicism and violence as to resemble the one we live in today. John Williams, the author of the great novel Stoner, has written a story with a grandiose style, wonderfully interpreted by Stefano Tummolini’s translation, through reality and fiction as a spark to reflect on human condition, on power flattery and on the loneliness of those who have it.
Charlie Chaplin Interviews
minimum fax, 242 pages, euro 14, translation by Andreina Lombardi Bom
Through the comedy we can see the irrational aspect of what seems to be rational, the mad aspect of what seems to be reasonable, the insignificant aspect of what seems to be extremely important. This is one of the numerous statements we can find in this collection of ‘interviews over half a century’ with Charlie Chaplin, among the most refined and brilliant intellectuals of the Twentieth Century. Often reduced to a comedy of Charlot (which actually represents stern attacks to the dehumanization of progress and populist policy) here we not only find an artist but also a man and a thinker. Chaplin has written that if it is true that time is a great director as it always finds the best final, true hope is that this book will be read by many people. To understand the passion of a man and an unappreciated artist who used to repeat: «I wanted to change the world and I just made it laugh».
The hatred of poetry
Sellerio, 88 pages, euro 12, translation by Martina Testa
Ben Lerner, an American writer, a wonder of the latest years, despite his young age (he was born in 1979) keeps on amazing readers: first, with the novels Leaving the Atocha Station (Neri Pozza, finalist in 2016 in the National Book Award), subsequently with 10:04 (Sellerio 2015) and now with this smart pamphlet.
«I believe that poetry and hate for poetry are merged together and this is what I aim at clarifying, each poetry always is the proof of failure». Everybody is a poet by now: a cruel logic hides also behind those who publish paid verses in brochures for obscure publishers or speechify and write poetry on the social: that is «we’re all poets». And yet we are not all piano players nor sculptors nor dancers. Within this illusion, or hope, the bright and tragic paradox of the art of word resides.