Nicola Pugliese was born in Milan in 1944, but lived almost all his life in Naples. A journalist, his first and only novel, Malacqua, was published in 1977 by Italo Calvino. It sold out in days, but, at the author’s request, was never reprinted until after his death in 2012.
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- The publication of Malacqua in English marks the fortieth anniversary of the original Italian publication by Italo Calvino at Einaudi.
The Wall Street Journal
‘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.’
The Financial Times
‘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.’
The Times Literary Supplement
‘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.’
The Spectator, Books of the Year 2017
‘This year’s strangest and most seductive book.’
The Economist 1843
'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.’
The New Statesman
‘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.’
‘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.’
'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.’