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It's Getting Later All the Time

Overview

From Italy, an epistolary novel like no other, full of Tabucchi's special "enchantment, which trans-figures even as it captivates" (TLS).

In It's Getting Later All the Time, an epistolary novel with a twist, Antonio Tabucchi"internationally acclaimed as the most original voice in the new generation of Italian writers" (The Harvard Book Review)revitalizes an illustrious tradition, only to break all its rules. Seventeen men write seventeen strangely beautiful letterstender or ...

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It's Getting Later All the Time

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Overview

From Italy, an epistolary novel like no other, full of Tabucchi's special "enchantment, which trans-figures even as it captivates" (TLS).

In It's Getting Later All the Time, an epistolary novel with a twist, Antonio Tabucchi"internationally acclaimed as the most original voice in the new generation of Italian writers" (The Harvard Book Review)revitalizes an illustrious tradition, only to break all its rules. Seventeen men write seventeen strangely beautiful letterstender or rancorouslonely monologues which move in circles, each describing an affair, and each desperate for a reply which may never come. The letters plunge the reader into an electric, timeless no-man's-land of "this past that is always somewhere, hanging in shreds." And at last, collecting all their one-sided, remorseful adventures into a single polyphonic novel, an 18th letter startlingly answers the men's pleas: a woman's voice, distant, implacable, yet full of sympathy. It's Getting Later All the Time captures destinies which, though so varied in appearance, are at rock bottom all the same: broken. This is an anti-Proustian noveltime lost is lost forever: it is impossible to get back to the past no matter how it haunts the present. As Tabucchi remarked, "Broken time is a dimension you find lots of men living in...an ambiguous, impossible situation, because they are faced with a kind of remorse, a choice they never made."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This epistolary novel is composed of 18 love letters; the fictional authors are 17 men and one woman, whose sweeping, summative voice closes the collection abruptly. Are all the letters addressed to her? Does she even exist? There are no names-she is, variously My dear; My love; My sweet Ophelia (a nickname), among other second-person addresses. Written from places all over Europe, the letters are intimate and often exquisite, lingering over transcendent details of landscape, or ruefully soliloquizing on memory. One rancorous letter, "A Good Man Like You," recalls a betrayal seven years in the past, while another contemplates a journey never taken: "Do you remember when we didn't go to Samarkand?" The whole makes for delicious voyeurism, leavened with pointed bafflement at these partially rendered relationships: just as the reader wishes for all the gaps to be filled in, the letter writers wish to re-compose fractured relationships. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The impermanence and the frustrations of romantic love are evoked with sly wit and operatic brio in the versatile Italian author's newly translated 2001 confection. It's an epistolary novel, whose major contents are 17 titled letters addressed to an unnamed woman (presumably the same one, possibly a generic ideal beloved), each expressing some variation of the plaintive declaration made by writer #17: "I'm waiting for you, even though we don't wait for those who cannot return, because . . . we would have to be who we were before, and that is impossible." Thus things that didn't happen (a trip not made to Samarkand in "Books Never Written, Journeys Never Made"; an idyllic island vacation, for which she never showed up, in "A Ticket in the Middle of the Sea") are as vivid and wrenching as things that seemingly did (a former medical student's memories of his classmate, now a prominent hematologist, in "The Circulation of the Blood"; a theater impresario's wistful recall of the perfect Norma featured in his production of Bellini's beloved opera, in "Casta Diva"). The stories are set all over Europe, North Africa and beyond, as disappointed or guilty loves lament the geographical and temperamental distances that separate them from this protean, mischievously elusive Eternal Feminine figure. The best of the stories skillfully blend literary or artistic influences with painstakingly delineated emotions: notably, a summer spent in Provence without the lover whose absence is mocked by the lyrical idealism of the Provencal poets ("Forbidden Games"); and a muted confession from a musician who, having underestimated his lover's commitment to humanitarian service, abandoned her for another life inSalonika ("What's the Use of a Harp with Only One String?"). Finally, in the title letter, she addresses these "Dear Sirs," "cutting the threads" which, they hopefully imagine, still binds her to each of them. Of necessity somewhat fragmentary. Still, another engagingly original work from one of Europe's most interesting writers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811215466
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 5/15/2006
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Antonio Tabucchi (1943) was born in Pisa, and after traveling and living in India and Portugal, he has settled in his native Tuscany, where he holds the Chair of Literature at the University of Siena. The foremost Italian writer of his generation, he is a champion of Portuguese literature and the translator of Fernando Pessoa. His considerable oeuvre is published in many languages. He was awarded the Italian PEN Club prize for Requiem (ND,1994) as well as the Aristeion European Literature Prize for Pereira Declares (ND,1997). Translator Alastair McEwen lives in Milan, Italy, and also translates Umberto Eco and Fleur Jaeggy, among others.
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