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No. 20,

New, frequent, slim, re-made, #20, offers two remarkable pieces of fiction. COLIN FLEMING’s wild, passionate account of several deaths, each adumbrated in daily life, routine, quotidian marital tensions, and all of them set down with remarkable energy by our new Contributing Editor comes first, because when first read, it came off the page as so searing, uninhibited and absolutely true, that it demanded to be published: one of the hundreds that come in to which you say, putting it down, Yes. Alongside Fleming is a translation of an unfinished novel about the Great War planned by BEPPE FENOGLIO who, to my mind, is one of a great generation of Italian writers – Loria, Pavese, Calvino, D’Arzo, Lampedusa – who formed a second generation of fiction in a much-neglected – and frequently badly-translated – literature. John Penuel gets Fenoglio just right. 

Another fine mind and distinctive Italian writer is FLEUR JAEGGY, whose dry, detached, subtle style I have much and long admired. Her ‘brief life’ of the French writer Marcel Schwob, who himself wrote ‘lives’, imaginary ones, of great verve, allows me to kill two birds with one stone: to relish Jaeggy and urge our readers to look at Schwob. In LIVES, Yesi T. Molinas, a previous contributor, gives us a memoir from his youth. To conclude this heterogeneous issue, MASSIMO RIZZANTE, one of the most refined, cosmopolitan and generous of critics, navigates between the idolatry of the Mass Market and the intricacies of the Academy, to get to the heart of why Roberto Bolaño – another previous contributor – is an important writer: and not just for the somewhat messy block-buster novels of his last years with us.   

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