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The Moon and the Bonfires (New York Review Books Classics)

by Cesare Pavese, R.W. Flint (Translator)

The nameless narrator of The Moon and the Bonfires, Cesare Pavese’s last and greatest novel, returns to Italy from California after the Second World War. He has done well in America, but success hasn’t taken the edge off his memories of childhood, when he was an orphan living at the mercy of a bitterly poor farmer. He wants to learn what happened in his native village over the long, terrible years of Fascism; perhaps, he even thinks, he will settle down. And yet as he uncovers a secret and savage history from the war—a tale of betrayal and reprisal, sex and death—he finds that the past still haunts the present. The Moon and the Bonfires is a novel of intense lyricism and tragic import, a masterpiece of 20th-century literature that has been unavailable to American readers for close to 50 years. Here it appears in a vigorous new English version by R. W. Flint, whose earlier translations of Pavese’s fiction were acclaimed by Leslie Fiedler as “absolutely lucid and completely incantatory.”

Cucina Piemontese: Cooking from Italy’s Piedmont

by Maria Grazia Asselle & Brian Yarvin

Cucina Piemontese includes recipes for more than 95 Piedmontese dishes, many of them from the author’s family in Piedmont. These classic recipes, accompanied by historical and cultural information, as well as a chapter on regional wines, provide an opportunity to explore this fascinating and increasingly renowned cuisine from an insider’s perspective. The simple recipes made with readily available ingredients bring la cucina piemontese to your home. Located in the northwest corner of Italy, the Piedmont region is surrounded by the Alps on three sides (the name means “at the foot of the mountains”). Piedmontese cooking is marked by a reverence for beef, butter, cream, and truffles, as well as humbler ingredients, such as pasta, polenta, and root vegetables. These foods are showcased in this collection of traditional recipes. Beginning with antipasti of Cipolline in Agro Dolce (Sweet-and-sour Onions) or Acciughe al Verde (Anchovies in Green Sauce), journey through the region with Tajarin con Sugo Burro e Salvia (Egg Pasta with Butter and Sage Sauce) and Brasato al Vino Rosso (Beef Cooked in Red Wine). Conclude with one of Piedmont’s famous desserts, such as Budino delle Langhe (Panna Cotta) or Zuppa Inglese (Ladyfinger Cake). B/W and color photography underscores the beauty and flavor of this cuisine.

National Geographic Traveler: Piedmont & Northwest Italy, with Turin and the Alps

by Tim Jepson

National Geographic Traveler Piedmont & Northwest Italy begins its tour of the region with an evocative visit to the beautiful baroque city of Turin, site of the 2006 Winter Olympics. It then heads to southern Piedmont with its lush, rolling, vine-covered landscapes, including a stop in the medieval town of Alba. Northeast of Turin, Lake Maggiore and the other lakes offer a mixture of breathtaking scenery and culture that has drawn the rich and famous for centuries. Finally, in the northern mountains, travelers will discover the fabled Valle d’Aosta, a stunning valley featuring fairy-tale castles, Roman remains, and plenty of skiing or hiking. Several detailed sections filled with practical travel information include extensive lists of handpicked hotels and restaurants and insider tips on the best tours. With meticulous maps and lavish photography, the National Geographic Traveler guides ensure exciting and memorable trips.

A Civilized Traveller’s Guide to Turin

by Eugenia Bell

Nestled between the Alps and the Po River, Turin was hailed by Le Corbusier as the most beautifully situated city he’d ever seen, and by Giorgio de Chirico as the “most profound, most enigmatic, most disquieting city not only of Italy, but of the world.” Today Turin, an elegant city of more than a million people, with views of the Alps around every corner, is home to Italy’s most vibrant contemporary art scene, as well as extraordinary architecture, sophisticated shops, and food and wine that are an epicurean’s dream.

La Casa De’ Colli

by Marco Cima

These farmer’s sons from the Italian Piedmont, who leave home for adventure and for economic reason, are central characters in a true story of a family disrupted by emigration. Their American experience takes them to mining towns in the Midwest and Far West during the turbulent years of the late 19th century. Their experiences mirror the emotional and social upheaval of the times.

Equally important are the family members who remain in the Canavese Mountains. They carry on with their lives and experience the joys and struggles characteristic of traditional village society.

While recounting the difficulties of the character’s lives, the author also deals with their complex emotional make-up: their disillusionment, resentment, resignation and hope. Above all, their love, which is capable of destroying an entire family.

Marco Cima recounts his story in a thoroughly researched world of farming, mining and ethnography. The result is a universal tale of people caught up in the social and emotional consequences of emigration of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Books by Natalia Ginzburg

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Natalia Ginzburg, arguably the most important woman writer of postwar Italy, always spoke of herself with irrepressible modesty. The woman who claimed she “never managed to climb up mountains” in fact wrote the history of twentieth-century Italy through more than twenty books, chronicling fascism, war, and the German occupation as well as the intimacies of family life. Ginzburg’s stories, based in the small town of her childhood or set in Italy’s cities, established her as a prolific and superb writer, and her husband’s antifascist activities (which led ultimately to his torture and death at the hands of the Nazis) placed her squarely in the center of Italy’s turbulent political arena.

Intensely reserved, Ginzburg said that she “crept toward autobiography stealthily like a wolf.” But she did openly discuss her life and her work in an extraordinary series of interviews for Italian radio in 1990. Never before published in English, It’s Hard to Talk about Yourself presents a vivid portrait of Ginzburg, in her own words, on the forces that shaped her remarkable life–politics, publishing, writing, literary influences, and her family. Transcribed and lightly edited by her close friend Cesare Garboli and her granddaughter Lisa Ginzburg, these interviews will join Ginzburg’s autobiography, Family Sayings, as one of the most important records of her life, and, as the editors write in their preface, “the last, unexpected, original book by Natalia Ginzburg.”

Natalia Ginzburg (1916-1991) wrote novels, short stories, poems, plays, and essays and translated Proust and Flaubert. In 1983, she was elected to the Italian Parliament, where she served almost until her death. Among her many books are The Road to the City: Two Novellas (1942), Valentino (1957), Family Sayings (1963), Never Must You Ask Me (1970), and The Manzoni Family (1983).

“Natalia Ginzburg’s simple, yet poetic narrative, with its often conversational tone is one of the most distinctive of literary styles. At times, the brevity and concision of her sentences were attributed to the influence of Hemingway, at others to that of Gertrude Stein. But, all said and done, whatever Natalia Ginzburg wrote, it was, simply, sui generis.”–The Independent (London)

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Other People’s Trades

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Trained as a chemist in Italy, Levi was deported to Auschwitz in 1944. His experiences in the death camps and his subsequent careers as a chemist, author, and classicist are reflected in this volume of 43 brief, elegant essays on subjects that aroused and amused him: birds, insects, frogs, parasites, pain, sidewalks, Rabelais, imaginary animals, the fear of snakes, qualities common to chess and poetry, children’s games, using a word processor for the first time, going back to school at 60, uncertainty about the future, psychological exams, the language of chemists, obscure writing (German poets Trakl and Celan, both of whom committed suicide). These witty, charming pieces confirm Levi’s position as one of the most gifted writers of our time.