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Catastrophe and Other Stories
By Dino Buzzati
Translated by Judith Landry
This volume brings together twenty of the best stories written by Dino Buzzati – author of the celebrated novel The Tartar Steppe and one of the most original voices in twentieth-century literature – stories which show the Italian master’s taste for the bizarre and the humorous, and for exploring the darker recesses of the human psyche.
From ‘The Collapse of the Baliverna’, where a man is racked with guilt at the thought that he might have been responsible for the loss of many lives, to ‘The Epidemic’, which describes the spread of a “state influenza” contracted only by people who don’t step into line with the government, and ‘Terror at the Scala’, where the higher echelons of Milan society are gripped with the fear of an impending revolution – these stories show how strange and unexpected events can creep into everyday life and draw ordinary people towards mystery, disquiet and, ultimately, catastrophe.
[These stories] capture something of the national mood. They portray delicate psychologies, and are themselves psychologically delicate, full of premonitions and subtle turns.
The New Yorker
An extraordinary writer…[Buzzati’s] writing feels timeless.
Out of a gothic tale…Frightening, lyrical, and provocative.
New York Times
The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily is one of the noblest books I know.
An evocative collection that might pull the rug from under your feet.
Twenty riveting stories . . . Some of Buzzati’s stories have the delicacy of fairy tales. . . Other stories have the visceral thrust of horror fiction. . . Buzzati’s varied and immensely satisfying stories will appeal to readers receptive to the possibility of the bizarre behind the banal.
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Weird, wild, and wonderful…There are shades of Fellini, shades of Dickens, shades of the great Italian horror director Mario Bava.
Los Angeles Times
Each of these stories is steeped in terror. Buzzati is the gatekeeper to our collective nightmares, poised on the threshold between the drawing room and existential hell. Judith Landry’s vibrant translations render him at once witty and sinister.
The novelist, journalist and painter Dino Buzzati (1906–72) is one of the most important voices of twentieth-century Italian literature. He is best remembered today for his novel The Tartar Steppe and the story The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, which he illustrated himself and has become a classic of Italian children’s literature.