Antonio Tabucchi

Antonio Tabucchi was born in Pisa in 1943 and died in Lisbon, his adopted home, in 2012. The son of a horse trader, he studied literature and philosophy before taking up writing himself. Over the course of his career he won France’s Medicis Prize for Indian Nocturne, the Italian PEN Prize for Requiem, and the Aristeion European Literature for Pereira Declares. A staunch critic of Italian ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, he once said that “democracy isn’t a state of perfection, it has to be improved, and that means constant vigilance.”

Pereira Maintains

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

Dr. Pereira is an aging, overweight, mostly lonely living the sunny life of an aesthete and gourmand—even while the menacing cloud of Fascism hangs over Salazarist Lisbon. He escapes facing the ominous times by translating French stories for a newspaper’s weekly culture page. “Are you living another world?” his exasperated friend Father Antonio asks him. “For goodness’s sake go and find out what’s happening around you.” When Pereira meets a young anti-Fascist writer, he is forced to break out of the shell of his own inhibitions.…
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The Edge of the Horizon

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

Antonio Tabucchi’s The Edge of the Horizon is the story of a very unimportant death. Late one night, the body of a young man is delivered to the morgue of an Italian town. The next day’s newspapers report that he was killed in a police raid, and that he went by the obviously false name “Carlo Nobodi.” Spino, the morgue attendant on duty at the time, becomes obsessed with tracing the identity of the corpse: “Why do you want to know about him?…
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It's Getting Later All the Time

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

In It’s Getting Later All the Time, an epistolary novel with a twist, Antonio Tabucchi—”internationally acclaimed as the most original voice in the new generation of Italian writers” (The Harvard Book Review)—revitalizes an illustrious tradition, only to break all its rules. Seventeen men write seventeen strangely beautiful letters—tender or rancorous—lonely monologues which move in circles, each describing an affair, and each desperate for a reply which may never come. The letters plunge the reader into an electric, timeless no-man’s-land of “this past that is always somewhere, hanging in shreds.…
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The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

Translated from the Italian by J. C. Patrick

In this genre-bending thriller, Antonio Tabucchi, Italy’s premier writer, draws together a gypsy, a young tabloid journalist with a passion for Lukács and Vittorini, and an overweight lawyer with a professed resemblance to actor Charles Laughton, to solve a murder that leads far up and down Portugal’s social ladder. As the investigation delves deeper into this shadowy world, the novel moves beyond the traditional twists of a suspense story to consider the moral weight of power and its abuse.…
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Requiem: An Hallucination

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

Translated from the Italian by Margaret Jull Costa

In Requiem, one of his most evocative novels, Antonio Tabucchi takes the reader on a dreamlike trip to Portugal, a country to which he is deeply attached — he even chose to write the novel in Portuguese, and it had to be translated for publication in his native Italy. Requiem’s narrator has an appointment on a quay in Lisbon at twelve, and when that turns out to mean not noon but midnight, he has a long time to while away.…
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Tristano Is Dying

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

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Pereira Declares

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

Salazar’s fascist Portugal in 1938 is part of the menacing cloud that hangs over Europe and Dr. Pereira is an aging, overweight, lonely, mostly retired journalist who doesn’t want to think about it. He escapes facing the ominous times by translating nineteenth-century French stories for the weekly Culture Page he edits for a Lisbon newspaper. He dwells on the past and over-indulges in heavily-sugared glasses of lemonade and omelettes aux fines herbes.…
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Indian Nocturne

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

Translated from the Italian by Tim Parks

Antonio Tabucchi describes his novella Indian Nocturne (winner of the Médicis Prize in its French translation) as “an insomnia” but also a journey… in which a Shadow is sought.” In his provocatively elusive but totally compelling way, Tabucchi takes us along on a nightmarish trip through the Indian subcontinent, producing sensations by turns exotic, sensual, menacing, and oppressive, as the profound weight of an ancient culture settles on the unwary traveler.…
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Little Misunderstandings of No Importance

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

Translated from the Italian by Frances Frenaye

The eleven short stories in this prize-winning collection pivot on life’s ambiguities and the central question they pose in Tabucchi’s fiction: is it choice, fate, accident, or even, occasionally, a kind of magic that plays the decisive role in the protagonists’ lives? Blended with the author’s wonderfully intelligent imagination is his compassionate perception of elemental aspects of the human experience, be it grief as in “Waiting for Winter,” about the widow of a nation’s literary lion, or madcap adventure as in “The Riddle,” about a mysterious lady and a trip in Proust’s Bugatti Royale.…
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Letter from Casablanca

Fiction by Antonio Tabucchi

The eight stories contained in Antonio Tabucchi’s Letters from Casablanca introduce to an American audience a rising Italian writer (born 1943) whose intriguing narrative strategies make the reader an active participant in his work. Each story can be seen from at least two perspectives, and each protagonist can be seen as experiencing an objective “reality” or having his own imagined and quite possibly distorted view of events. Almost like a detective, the reader must try to puzzle out what has happened, what relationship X “really” has to Y.…
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One of the most intriguing and appealing character studies in recent European fiction, and easily the best work of Tabucchi’s to have appeared in English translation.

Kirkus Reviews

Tabucchi’s prose creates a deep, near-profound and sometimes heart-wrenching nostalgia and constantly evokes the pain of recognizing the speed of life’s passing which everyone knows but few have the strength to accept.

—Alan Cheuse, NPR

A work in the high aesthetic mode, a historical novel cast in delicately evocative prose and filled with witty references to the great figures of modern European literature. In it Italians could examine their political consciences through an artful image of another country’s past. The pleasures to be had from Pereira Maintains are rich and varied, but best of all it’s very enjoyable.

The New York Times

Pereira Maintains is small only in size. Its themes are great ones—courage, betrayal, fidelity, love, corruption; and its treatment of them is subtle, skillful, and clear. It’s so clear, in fact, that you can see a very long way down, into the heart of a flawed but valiant human being, into the sickness of a nation, into the depths of political evil. It’s the most impressive novel I’ve read for years, and one of the very few that feels truly necessary.

—Philip Pullman

A masterpiece of compression.

—Mohsin Hamid

Tabucchi has the touch of the true magician, who astonishes us by never trying too hard for his subtle, elusive, and remarkable effects.

The San Francisco Examiner

Ruminative, elegiac and mordantly funny, Mr. Tabucchi’s prose conjures a state between waking and dreaming.

The New York Times
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