Biography

Michele Mari is one of Italy’s most renowned contemporary writers. He has published ten novels, in addition to several short story and poetry collections, and has received prestigious awards including the the Bagutta Prize, the Mondello Prize and the Selezione Campiello Prize. A former professor of Italian literature at the University of Milan, he has translated classic novels by Herman Melville, George Orwell, John Steinbeck and H. G. Wells. In a survey published by the magazine Orlando Esplorazioni in 2015, Mari was ranked the contemporary Italian author most likely to be read by generations to come.

Reviews

Sam Sacks
Wall Street Journal

‘A standout selection of Mari’s stories, spinning out intricate, philosophical meditations on the paraphernalia of his youth, from comics to a collection of marbles… Superbly translated.’

John Self
The Guardian

‘There’s a Calvino-esque blend of the playful and the rigorous to this collection. A uniquely refreshing book . . . idiosyncratic, amusing and moving.’


Irish Times

‘The translation by Brian Robert Moore is a gem. A delightful collection that pops with idiosyncrasy.’

Sam Sacks
Wall Street Journal

‘Mr. Moore wonderfully reproduces Mr. Mari’s anagrams, mnemonic devices and puns. Verdigris is a delightful game, up until the moment it turns deadly serious.’


World Literature Today

‘This is a magical novel not to be missed.’


Times Literary Supplement

‘Mari is known as a master of old literary forms and languages, with stylistic mannerisms that he calls “literary vampirism” … For lovers of the gothic and the supernatural there is much to admire in Michele Mari’s work. But what remains long in the mind is a feeling of extreme loneliness, regrets and longings for an irretrievable past, for loving family and accepting friends, which no amount of memories can return.’ Times Literary Supplement


Financial Times

‘Moore’s translation is lively and inventive … It’s as easy for adults to rewrite history, Mari suggests, as it is for children to retreat into fantasy. Consequently, a strange world emerges, one in which “everything flows and nothing stays”. This “gothic fantasy”, as Mari has called it, can be read as a commentary on collective amnesia, a condition affecting not just contemporary Italy, where fascism is becoming a real threat again, but also societies all over the globe. As Europe’s far right raises its head, literature that exhumes ghosts of the past grows vital. If left undisturbed, they will keep haunting the future.’


Irish Times

‘A pleasingly strange, crepuscular novel’

Barry Pierce

‘The novel is an intriguing mystery ... Brian Robert Moore’s translation is astonishing work.’


Asymptote

‘Mari and Moore are returning with Verdigris, a novel that further displays Mari’s masterful construction of mystery and fantasy with the story of a young boy, Michelino, and his developing friendship with a strange groundskeeper, Felice.’


Kirkus Reviews, starred review

‘A curious teenager's conversations with an odd groundskeeper yield far more than he'd bargained for [...] Kudos to translator Moore, whose consummate conversion allows readers to luxuriate in the language of even deceptively minor moments: "amid the heads of lettuce, languished the halved cadavers of red slugs." A gripping, beguiling, occasionally discomfiting, and utterly fascinating tour de force.’

Carla Benedetti
L’Espresso

‘One reads it quickly, in one go, but then it stays to “breathe” in one’s soul for days, as though it were to a living thing – just like the turquoise poison referenced in the title, once it’s dissolved in water. A writer of great talent, Mari seems to have even outdone himself.’


Asymptote

‘Mari and Moore are returning with Verdigris, a novel that further displays Mari’s masterful construction of mystery and fantasy with the story of a young boy, Michelino, and his developing friendship with a strange groundskeeper, Felice.’

Stefano Giovanardi
la Repubblica

‘The theme of the “double”, in its various forms, is a favorite subject of the modern Western literary imagination (from Hoffmann to von Chamisso, from Stevenson to Wilde, and many others). But no writer, I believe, has managed to conceive in this regard what Michele Mari offers us in his new novel, Verdigris.’

Giorgio Vasta
Nazione Indiana

‘There are books before which there came other books, and then there are books before which – and after which, too – there’s nothing else.’


Praise for the Author

‘There’s a Calvino-esque blend of the playful and the rigorous to You, Bleeding Childhood. A uniquely refreshing book . . . idiosyncratic, amusing and moving.’ The Guardian

‘If I were to give a book award to a living Italian writer, man or woman, I'd pick Michele Mari.’ Domenico Starnone, I-Italy

‘The greatest living Italian writer.’ Andrea Coccia, Linkiesta

‘The charm that Mari exercises on his readers, from the most devoted to the most distracted, is incredible . . . More than anyone else, Michele Mari represents today a model of writer that seems on the point of disappearing – fully literary, lofty, in short, twentieth-century.’ Sara Marzullo, Esquire


Kirkus starred review

'Short stories from an Italian maestro finally translated into English [...] Amusing, disturbing, intoxicating tales of childhood terrors and obsessions.’


Publishers Weekly, starred review

‘Mari makes his English-language debut with a dazzling and sometimes surreal collection of reminiscences on childhood obsessions. [...] Mari delivers trenchant satires of nostalgia with deadpan grace and wit, resulting in stories that are as heartfelt as they are humorous, with great care given to descriptions of the characters’ foibles and idiosyncrasies. This is not to be missed.’

Domenico Starnone
I-Italy

‘If I were to give a book award to a living Italian writer, man or woman, I'd pick Michele Mari.’    

Andrea Coccia
Linkiesta

‘The greatest living Italian writer.’

Elena Stancanelli
La Repubblica

‘Michele Mari has written only beautiful books. The most beautiful of the beautiful is the short story collection You, Bleeding Childhood.’  

Sara Marzullo
Esquire

‘The charm that Mari exercises on his readers, from the most devoted to the most distracted, is incredible . . . More than anyone else, Michele Mari represents today a model of writer that seems on the point of disappearing – fully literary, lofty, in short, twentieth-century.’

Alida Airaghi
SoloLibri

‘Emotion, anger, nostalgia: but also affectionate humour, indulgent sympathy [in] a work that masterfully combines elegance and irony, psychological acumen and an understanding of form, eclectic culture and emotional vulnerability. [The work of a child] who developed an unstoppable passion for adventure books, for comics . . . [who] cultivated a fetishistic relationship with thought, with the imagination; but also with a stubborn self, wounded by the intensity of his perceptions.’

Pietro Citati
La Repubblica

‘Michele Mari's mythology is that of the great darkness of Romanticism, even if he contemplates the oceans and the far places of the Earth from the safety of his library. I don't know if he is devoured . . . by an obsession, or if he is deeply enchanted . . . as by a vision he had in a dream . . . [But] he loves the darkness: crisscrossed by lightning, furrowed by thin trails of light. Around that night, his skillful rhetoric builds an endless echo chamber, in which his one voice resounds with the manifold voices of literature itself.’

Tiziano Gianotti
Linkiesta

‘The world of Michele Mari is a world where monsters and tutelary gods (interchangeable?), where sixteenth-century literature and classic sci-fi pocket paperbacks coexist in sinister harmony; where writing is exorcism and never punishment: the only way to escape the quotidian . . . Mari is one of those writers who feed on their own obsessions, know how to paint them with words and phrases, to arrange those phrases into novels embodying those same obsessions.’

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