The Birdcage Archives

Friday 12 December 2014

Posthumous Tabucchi novel to be published

Hello Gentle Reader

Whenever there is a new Antonio Tabucchi book, coming out in English a part of me, tenses up with anticipation of that book to be released. The last book that I had read by Tabucchi was “The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro,” – and though the book failed to enthrall me as the books by Tabucchi had prior; I still have the upmost respect and sincerest regards for the author. Though he passed away in two-thousand and twelve; and was not honored with the Nobel Prize for Literature; Tabucchi remains a distinctive voice in international literature. His reputation in the English language, was spawned from his novel “Pereira Declares,” (or “Pereira Maintains,”) – a novel of socio-political commentary that, discusses the atrocities perpetrated by oppressive regimes upon their own populace; but also the crime of compliance by being apathetic or unaware. The novel gathered support in Italy upon its initial publication, for its symbolic purposes in resisting the government of Silvio Berlusconi.

Yet Tabucchi was more than just a social and politically aware novelist. Injustices and inhumanities certainly were atrocities that author spoke against; but he was an author of a more dreamlike quality, mixed with the sweet melancholy of nostalgia and departures, and the longing that grows in the absence of others. “Requiem: A Hallucination,” traces an Italian writers journey, to visit a dead yet revered Portuguese poet. Through the novel however, the main character, meets an array of characters, before meeting his desired companion to discuss Kafka, postmodernism, and the future of literature itself. “It’s Getting Later All The Time,” recounts seventeen different letters, from seventeen different men, confessing their loves, and their memories for one woman. At first these letters appear to be only connected by thematic concerns, not by any literal connection; but in the end everything is weaved together, and comes together like a puzzle with a welcomed understanding.

Archipelago published two small collections of Antonio Tabucchi’s stories:

“The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico,”
“The Woman of Porto Pim,”

Both of these works are stories of a literary master. When the story ends they continue to hint at the larger world. A world that has not been readily nailed to their pages, by the clip and claps of the typewriter or keyboard – nor have they been sewn into place by the pen. Rather they continue to dream on about the greater world that exists beyond their pages. These works were found in a place that borders memory and imagination, and often travels into a world of dreams. Both are slim collections that offer Tabucchi’s views – in fragments or ‘qausi-stories,’ of life, history and existence itself.

Thankfully the wonderful Archipelago Books is coming out with some more of Tabucchi’s work. The first being “Time Ages in A Hurry,” – a collection of stories, that deal with characters and their corrupted or troubled relationship with history. Of course though it has the touch of only Tabucchi, where rationale is quickly abandoned for empty silence and logic is out of fashion for the intuitive and the exploration of the murky waters of feelings. I sense there will be searches for ones identity; personal journeys into a shadow like world where phantoms reside; and the necessary excavations of the shipwrecks of one’s past. After the April release of “Time Ages in a Hurry,” Archipelago has at the moment the release date for the next Tabucchi book to be September with “Tristano Dies: A Life.”

Yet the largest news to surround the author now, is a (re)discovered novel that the author had been revising and reviewing for publication, which had been entertained with for some years prior. Reports at the time state that it was shelved in nineteen-ninety six; because of other projects. Yet now the novel will see its first publications in Italian and Spanish with the title “To Isabelle,” or “To Elizabeth.” The novel details the attempt at piecing together the story of the vanishing act of a young woman – the eponymous Isabelle/Elizabeth. It has the touch of both Tabucchi’s socio-political interest against the oppressed – the character Isabelle/Elizabeth, is a militant activities opposing the Portuguese dictator Salazar; but also his touch for the genre bending sampled in “The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro,” but also the curiosity for the tales of others lives, that Tabucchi carefully unfolds like a origami structure to reveal its beginnings. Mind you, I am taking all of this off reports that are in foreign languages, and therefore I must utilize Google translate. In the end one can only hope that “To Isabelle,” or “Para Isabel,” will make a delightful transition and translation into the English language. Of course one can hope all of Tabucchi’s books make it into English such as “The Black Angel.”

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always Stay Well Read
*And Remember: Downloading Books Illegally is Thievery and Wrong.*

M. Mary

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