Malacqua by Nicola Pugliese

Pugliese MALACQUA _ rgb
This is a book with a meaning and a force and a message.
Italo Calvino

Nicola Pugliese

Shaun Whiteside

Price: £10 / $15.95 (print), £5 / $8 (ebook)

B format paperback


eBook ISBN:

Original language:

Published by:
And Other Stories

Publication date:
16 November 2017

After a four-day deluge, Naples is flooded. Buildings collapse, sinkholes appear. Strange events spread across the city: ghostly voices emanate from a medieval castle and five-lire coins begin to play music, but only to ten-year-old children. A melancholy journalist searches for meaning as the narrative takes us into the minds of those who have suffered in the floods.

Despite phenomenal initial success, the novel was withdrawn from publication at the author’s request, and not reissued until after his death in 2012. Now translated into English for the first time, Malacqua remains a timely critique and a richly peopled portrait of a much-mythologised city.

More Information

  • If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before 10 April 2017, you would have received a first edition copy of the book – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication, as well us up to five other And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.
  • The publication of Malacqua in English marks the fortieth anniversary of the original Italian publication by Italo Calvino at Einaudi.

Praise for Malacqua

  • ‘A lyrical, caustic and highly fantastical imagining of a Naples beset by a biblical deluge . . . Malacqua is a beguiling portrait of a fractured city, with its jostle of voices and competing desires.’ Toby Lichtig, Wall Street Journal
  • ‘Nicola Pugliese was a writer who challenged the clichéd view of Naples as a city of gangsters, mandolins and “O Sole Mio” . . . His fiaba vesuviana (Vesuvian fairytale), superbly translated by Shaun Whiteside, is a beautiful and haunting exploration of life at a meteorological extreme.’ Ian Thomson, Financial Times
  • ‘A picture . . . of a city suspended in melancholy . . . The atmosphere of a flood is created by a free-flowing stream of consciousness, alternately intensifying and subsiding, and Shaun Whiteside’s sensitive translation never lets the original down.’ Anna Aslanyan, Times Literary Supplement
  • ‘This year’s strangest and most seductive book.’ The Spectator Books of the Year 2017
  • ‘This rediscovered classic has a back-story almost as uncanny as its mood . . . The skies clear, but the mystery lingers in this clammily unsettling tale.’ Boyd Tonkin, The Economist 1843
  • Malacqua is a brooding novel, with flashes of brilliance . . . Pugliese’s narrative is epic in intent . . . [combining] reportage with nightmarish indications of the insidiousness of the new waterscape, absurdism and phantasmagoria.’ Catherine Taylor, New Statesman
  • ‘Nicola Pugliese’s novel has its own compelling voice, filled with the sound of water rushing, gushing, flowing, hammering on rooftops, falling in threads from the sky.’ Lee Langley, The Spectator
  • ‘The narrative slips with a watery fluidity between various of the city’s residents . . . the point of view cascading between the individual and collective with an ease reminiscent of the stream of consciousness technique demonstrated by writers in the early years of the 20th century . . . The citizens of Naples watch the destruction of their city waiting for an “extraordinary event” to bring things to a head; this, they suspect is “merely the start of the transformation”. Whether or not their fears come true, readers can discover for themselves. What’s not in doubt, however, is the extraordinariness of this haunting, eerie novel.’ Lucy Scholes, The National
  • ‘Pugliese’s first and only novel is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a city on the brink of disaster. The sweeping conclusion is a beautiful and haunting foray into the search for meaning in a meaningless world.’ Publishers Weekly
  • ‘A surprisingly moving consideration of ordinary experiences. The result is a city of voices. When the end finally arrives, Pugliese deftly turns the dark clouds of imagination into a life-affirming ode.’ Karen Rigby, Foreword Reviews 5 stars
  • ‘Pugliese’s novel [offers] plenty of opportunities for surreal imagery and forays into the uncanny.’ Tobias Carroll, Lithub
  • ‘We are wholly up for novels about journalists investigating surreal happenings in cities sliding into madness or decay.’ Vol1 Brooklyn
  • ‘A marvellous writer!’ Roberto Saviano

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