by Niccolo Tucci
Born in 1908, Niccolo Tucci was the author of six books (three in Italian; three, English). He first became known in the US for his articles and stories published in various leading periodicals—among them Partisan Review, Harper’s, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker, where from 1947 until the early 1960s he was a frequent contributor. The Rain Came Last is the first collection of Tucci’s English-language stories to be published. He writes of his childhood and adolescence in the remote Tuscan countryside where his family lived, dislocated from its grand and opulent past. Later, Tucci’s stories sprang from his urbane and bohemian adult years in Manhattan, to which he emigrated in the 1930s. Very few other writers for whom English was not a native language have adopted and adapted it in so masterly and personal a fashion—Conrad and Nabokov among the rare exceptions. Tucci was, as Denis Donoghue wrote in The New York Review of Books, in possession of his art, his vision, his language, at ease among the possibilities.’ “He [was],” comments Mary McCarthy, “an international man, a very unusual thing, and it is that perhaps that has put and kept him in a class by himself.” In Italy, Tucci won several important literary prizes and praise from such writers as Moravia and Montale. He died in 1999.