by Elio Vittorini
This representative collection of works by the late Elio Vittorini (1908-1966) brings under a single cover three short novels. The Twilight of the Elephant (II Sempione strizza l’occhio al Fréjus, 1946) is a haunting, mythlike tale bearing strong affinities with music and abstract art. It is the story of a poverty-stricken family and its extraordinary grandfather––a veritable “elephant” of a man. One of the recognized classics of modern literature, In Sicily (Conversazione in Sicilia, 1937) recounts a city man’s rediscovery of himself and the basic values of life when he returns for a visit to the primitive Sicilian village where he was born. Included in this edition is an introduction written in 1949 by Ernest Hemingway, who greatly admired Vittorini. The third novella, La Garibaldina (1950), is a vivid portrait of an eccentric old woman, a former camp follower of Garibaldi’s army, and her encounter with a young soldier on a night-train journey across Sicily.