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guillermo arriaga

The Turin International Book Fair

Quando il libro uscì, il Time definì la sua eroina «la gattina più eccitante che la macchina da scrivere di Truman Capote abbia mai creato. Sola, ingenua e un po’ impaurita». Era il 1958. Quest’anno corre il Sessantesimo anniversario dalla prima pubblicazione in America di Breakfast at Tiffany’s, mentre il Salone del Libro arriva alla sua trentesima edizione.

11 MAGGIO 2018

Palazzo Carignano, alle ore 11 di mattino. L’evento sostenuto da Tiffany & Co. è aperto al pubblico e fa parte del programma ufficiale del Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino, Salone OFF.

Maggiori informazioni: lampoon.it/cult/innamorati-e-scapestrati

Curated by Paolo di Paolo


The poster for the 2018 fair – directed by Nicola Lagioia and a small team – is by illustrator Manuele Fior. It shows a woman with her back to us, gazing into the distance. On the horizon we can make out the Turin skyline. The copy reads “One day, all this” – and the phrase is left hanging. It could be completed in many different ways: with a question, an exclamation, or a wish. ‘All this’ is the construction site of the book fair, which has been open almost constantly for a couple of years now. The results will be seen from 10 to 14 May at the Lingotto. After the division seen in 2017, this year’s fair unites small, medium and large publishers. On this point, Lagioia announced, “Independent publishers will be there as well as major groups; it’s impossible to imagine the publishing scene in our country without one group or the other. We’ve worked together to achieve a rapprochement between all Italian publishers, independent or otherwise. We’re proud that they have chosen Turin to get together. We are smitten with publishers, they are the salt of Italy’s culture.”

From Javier Cercas –who has been asked to give the inaugural lecture on 21st century Europe – to Herta Müller, who won the Nobel Prize in 2009. Cinema auteurs who have turned their hand to literature, such as Guillermo Arriaga. And others who have been inspired by literature – Bernardo Bertolucci, Luca Guadagnino, Giuseppe Tornatore.

A series of questions for writers, artists, and leading exponents in the world of communication: who do I want to be? Why do I need an enemy? Who does the world belong to? Where do spirituality and science take me? What do I want from art: freedom or revolution? The answers, which will arrive in different forms, will be shared at the fair. The ‘militant’ area of the fair will be connected with the painful experience of Paola and Claudio Regeni, still on their quest for the truth about their son Giulio [the PhD student found tortured to death in Egypt], and to the commitment of Alessandro Leogrande, who died last year at the age of 40. The La Frontiera project, which he devised to explore issues of borders, migrations and integration will take an essential step forward, with the help of the Piccoli Maestri group. Historical-political anniversaries such as the kidnapping of Aldo Moro, and literary ones will provide the pretext for narrations or in-depth discussions. To mark the 10th anniversary of the death of American writer David Foster Wallace, Christian Raimo and Giordano Meacci have come up with a re-reading experience. And for the 200th birthday of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, four writers will shut themselves up in a village just outside the city to evoke the right atmosphere for gothic tales. There will also be events to mark the 60th anniversary of Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.


Il 31° Salone Internazionale del Libro è in programma da giovedì 10 a lunedì 14 maggio 2018 al Lingotto di Torino in via Nizza 294.

Per maggiori informazioni e per acquistare i biglietti: salonelibro.it


Anatomia di un istante

Javier Cercas

Guanda, 2010, pp. 468, € 14,00

This is a man who asks himself all the big questions. He probes the past – his own past and that of a country, Spain – to take on its shadows, with the toolbox of the great narrator. From Soldiers of Salamis to The Anatomy of a Moment to El Monarca de la Sombras, he tries to come to terms with history from an intimate perspective, where the things that are not known may be more important than those that are. This writer looks out of a window of opaque glass. That opacity, that partial point of view is not a limitation; it is the very space in which novel writing happens. While historiography looks for clarity, and turns to verified sources, literature can gather hearsay, misunderstandings, and base itself on crumbs of memory picked up at home or on the street, as well as lies or contradictions. Cercas explains, “It’s impossible to transcribe reality without betraying it: as soon as we start telling a story, we are already altering reality, we are already inventing.” This isn’t trickery. This ‘altered reality’ can reveal a lot more to us than many historiographic theories. It can give warmth to documentary scrupulousness by working on the emotions, pushing us to reinterpret the past from unusual angles: by putting on the glasses of so many ‘nobodies’ who are ready to demonstrate that ‘the collective is a dimension of the personal’.


L’altalena del respiro

Herta Müller

Feltrinelli, 2012, pp. 256, € 9,00

“I think of Walter Benjamin’s desperation when he was staying in the Pyrenees in 1940. All he had with him was one bag, full of manuscripts perhaps. Not even a backpack, which in those days would have marked him out as a German.” Herta Müller is familiar with exile and knows its wounds, the lacerations forced upon people by the violence of totalitarian regimes. In Ceausescu’s Romania she was declared a ‘dangerous enemy’ of the State; with her debut work Niederungen, she saw a censored version of her short stories published in Romanian, where the word ‘suitcase’ had been cut out as it conjured up the emigration of the German minority to which she herself belonged. In the motivations given for awarding her the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009, she was praised as a writer “who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed”. Every page she writes has an ethical, lyrical power: in The Hunger Angel, where she describes the horrors suffered by Romanians in Soviet concentration camps, she seems to invent a new language, bring it to life on the page as though it were the first or last morning of the world. A language to articulate the negation of the human being within confines created by humans.



Niccolò Ammaniti

Einaudi, 2014, pp. 364, € 14,00

He will be attending the book fair as the screenwriter of a TV series, Il miracolo. Where does a writer like Niccolò Ammaniti come from? He is one of the very few to have no discernible literary relations or lineage: he felt cramped among those “cannibals” – as in Gioventù cannibale, 1996 – who would later for the most part get lost along the wayside. Any ‘genre’ would cramp his style; he has no connection with a particular kind of 19th and 20th century ‘literariness’, especially not an Italian one. His book Branchie was published in 1994, the same year that Follow Your Heart and Pereira Maintains came out, making him an alien, a would-be biologist with a gift for storytelling. Initially he seemed to be a darker, more ferocious Benni. Then he carved out his own niche: he doesn’t have that acerbic, ambiguous, knowing irony of many of his ‘post-modern’ contemporaries; what he does have on his side is his light touch and an instinctive sense of humour. However, there’s no single thread hanging his books together: the grotesque one which led from Fango to Che la festa cominci and to his short stories in Il momento è delicato, isn’t the same that runs from his latest novel Anna to Io e te, Come Dio comanda, and Io non ho paura, as well as some aspects of Ti prendo e ti porto via, which is almost in its own category. The last few mentioned are stories about children and teenagers, but from a perspective so different to Moravia or Morante, for example, that Ammaniti seems to have been born not fifty, but a thousand years after them. A true narrator.


Il selvaggio

Guillermo Arriaga

Bompiani, 2018, pp. 752, € 22,00

If you want to know how a story is constructed, how a story feeds off other stories, or how these different stories can be woven together to astounding effect, just ask Guillermo Arriaga. This sixty year-old Mexican previously worked as a screenwriter, collaborating with Alejandro González Iñárritu on Amores perros, 21 grams, Babel. Then he took his own solitary path, as a film director too – The Burning Plain. As a novelist he is coming to Turin to present El salvaje: Mexico, the 1960s, a young boy growing up, jumping across the city’s rooftops. He had a younger brother who was stillborn. His older brother is killed. Gallons of blood which feed into an absolute, radical desire for revenge. Arriaga explained his theme using these words: “Death has always obsessed me and I am obsessed by the weight of the dead on those who are alive. My identity is constructed by all those people who are in contact with me, who are around me and when one of them dies part of me dies too. Whereas our society is obsessed by the opposite need: it wants to destroy death, to cancel it out. There is a total rejection of death, but I on the other hand try to bring death into life, because it is inevitably a part of it.”

From The Fashionable Lampoon April Issue #13 – Hot \ Holy

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