Claudio Magris

onefatman
onefatman

1:01 PM - May 26, 2008 #1

He has been discussed as a potential Nobel candidate, he's won the Premio Strega and, at least in German, he's currently being translated as if the publisher's life deopended on it. Can't say why, there's not a Bolano-like hype around him. Well.


I have read and finished Microcosms (in German translation: excellent translation, btw., as far as I can see) and I am awestruck.

It's a great, great, great book, wonderful, insightful (even though I dislike its politics) and rich...it's a couple of pieces on towns and villages in italy, mixing invented stories with real characters, essayistic musings and heartbreakingly wonderful descriptions of the landscape. It's like hundreds of tiny stories, wonderfully told. If Bernhard liked people I'd say it's almost Bernhardesque at times, but it's not because Magris deep love for the landscape and its inhabitants is clearly one of the determining factors in tthis wonder of a book.
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onefatman
onefatman

3:37 PM - May 26, 2008 #2

wrote:Reflecting on the Alpine border region of the South Tyrol—long disputed by Italy, Austria, and Bavaria—Claudio Magris writes, 'There are borders running everywhere, and one crosses them without realizing.' This might serve as a general motto for Microcosms. The South Tyrol is only one of the half-dozen borderlands Magris visits in his allusive, and elusive, sly, witty, sorrowing, and wonderful oddity of a book. On its publication in Italy in 1997, it won the Strega Prize, the country's most important literary award, and became the year's unlikeliest best seller. It is easier to say what Microcosms is not than to say what it is. A memoir? No, although it ripples throughout with remembered scenes and places. A travelogue? Certainly not, though it does traverse northern Italy from east to west and back again. A literary meditation on what it is to be European? Perhaps—but it is more than that, too; much, much more.
from a review by John Banville
( I can't access the whole thing http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article ... cle_id=122)
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suzannahhh
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suzannahhh
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4:30 PM - May 26, 2008 #3

I was convinced enough
before reading this
to order a copy
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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4:48 PM - May 26, 2008 #4

likewise, because i've always intended to read "Danube"
I only think, if that is the name for this vertiginous panic as of hornets smoked out of their nests, once a certain degree of terror has been exceeded
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Porphry
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Porphry
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5:19 PM - May 26, 2008 #5

First Tabucchi, now Magris... looks like I have a few new reasons to push on with learning Italian.
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alliknowis
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alliknowis
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5:47 PM - May 26, 2008 #6

How would you compare it to Sebald's work? And have you read both Danube and Microcosms, which one to pick up first?
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alliknowis
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alliknowis
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5:48 PM - May 26, 2008 #7

What the politics of the work that you dislike btw, onefat?
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onefatman
onefatman

6:40 PM - May 26, 2008 #8

haven't read Danube, Microcosms is my first Magris


politics? I had a discussion with my fiancé, it smells mildly of fascism, that book, very mildly, but it's definitely right-wing, but not so's you'd notice if you aren't as sensitive to that as I am, I guess.

I've quotes from the German here.
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Fausto
Fausto

7:52 AM - May 27, 2008 #9

For some reason, I have never read Magris. I know I should, I know I should. I will.

As for politics, I really would like some more details regarding your impression because I almost fell off my chair when I read that. Magris is one of Italy's main left wing intellectual, he presented hismelf in the elections a few year back against Berlusconi's candidates and is a strong advocate of a multicultural, open and strong political European Union. The little introduction written by the people who awarded him El premio principe de Asturias (Spain's biggest prize) gave of him the desciption of your typical enlightened European liberal.

So what elements of the book struck you as right-wing?
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suzannahhh
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11:20 AM - May 27, 2008 #10

am I the only one here
who wasn't all that taken with Sebald?
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