Nicola Gardini: Paolo Polzella

by Nicola Gardini

Lost Words

Nicola Gardini

Lost Words

Fiction by Nicola Gardini

Translated from the Italian by Michael F. Moore

More Information

In Gardini’s novel, with its generous call to greater interpersonal understanding, one answer seems to be: everywhere, hiding unspoken, waiting.

Harvard Review

Gardini introduces the wider social unrest subtly, seeing things from the perspective of an insider and an outsider at once.

Times Literary Supplement

What do you call it when a novel in translation that is all about the problems of reading in translation? Ironic? Perverse? Necessary? Whatever the answer, Michael F. Moore’s English rendering is lucid and elegant.

—Christine Smallwood, Harper’s

Gardini crafts an amusing, entertaining read.

—Publishers Weekly

A gentle, bittersweet, tragicomic rite-of-passage novel translated into lively English by Moore.


A combative novel, a multilayered piece of fiction, a triumphant narrative mechanism.

—Matteo Giancotti, Corriere Della Sera

Gardini’s language is forceful and refined.

—Silvia Mazzocchi, La Repubblica

Combining elements of comedy and tragedy, Gardini’s novel is a call on today’s Italy to know its own language, to speak with substance, and to reconsider the relationship between words and meaning—a relationship broken by mass culture. As Leopardi declares, there is in words an exhortation to probe the depths of truth—a calling to believe that culture and education can still save us.

—from the citation for the Viareggio Prize
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