Books by Antonio Tabucchi

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

Released: May 14, 2019

"A fine tribute to a writer defined by his singular command of mood and mystery."
A career-spanning story collection from Tabucchi (1943-2012; For Isabel: A Mandala, 2017, etc.) exploring the liminal spaces between dream and waking, fact and fiction. Read full book review >
FOR ISABEL by Antonio Tabucchi
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"An unusually structured but engaging jaunt into the ineffable."
One man's search for a missing woman grows less factual and more metaphysical. Read full book review >
TRISTANO DIES by Antonio Tabucchi
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"An admirable if challenging reworking of the overworked themes of war-hero tales."
A war hero delivers a final, mournful series of remembrances just as his memories begin to scatter. Read full book review >
TIME AGES IN A HURRY by Antonio Tabucchi
Released: April 4, 2015

"A quibble: The title might have been more idiomatically rendered Time Gets Old in a Hurry, getting at the paradoxes and wordplay that Tabucchi loved. A pleasure all the same for fans of modern European literature."
A pensive, beautifully written meditation on personhood and nationhood in the new age of European unity. Read full book review >
Released: May 29, 2006

"Of necessity somewhat fragmentary. Still, another engagingly original work from one of Europe's most interesting writers."
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. Read full book review >
DREAMS OF DREAMS by Antonio Tabucchi
Released: June 15, 2000

Two fetchingly lyrical short works by the Borges-like Italian author of Pereira Declares (1996), etc. "The Last Three Days of Fernando Pessoa: A Delirium" (1994) is an elegant threnody describing the great Portuguese poet's approach to death as a meditative series of "meetings" with his "heteronyms" (fictional alter egos) and reflections on his political and aesthetic ideals. "Dreams of Dreams" (1992) offers the imaginary dreams of eminent writers, artists, composers, and fictional and mythological characters. Coleridge's albatross, Collodi's Gepetto, and Rabelais's Pantagruel, for instance, are creations first encountered in dreams; others subtly express such salient personal traits as Chekhov's compassion and Robert Louis Stevenson's quiet fortitude; and, in Tabucchi's wittiest single invention, Daedalus affixes waxen wings to the Minotaur, liberating that creature from his maze, and inspiring a later, less successful flight. A lovely little book that keeps on ringing in your head long after you've finished it. Read full book review >
THE MISSING HEAD by Antonio Tabucchi
Released: Feb. 26, 1999

The latest from the eminent Italian author of Requiem (1994) and Pereira Declares (1996) once again explores the land and people of Portugal—this time in the form of a murder mystery whose initiating action is the discovery of a headless body near a gypsy encampment. "Special correspondent" (and self-styled literary scholar) Firmino is sent by the Lisbon scandal sheet he writes for to the town of Oporto to investigate. The result is less the solution to an only token mystery than it is a reintroduction to the culture Firmino (born in Oporto) has rejected—as embodied by a colorful host of high and low characters who function (not too blatantly) as reality instructors. The most vivid are a hardworking attorney and a genial transvestite whore. On the whole, the novel is an unlikely delight. Read full book review >
PEREIRA DECLARES by Antonio Tabucchi
Released: May 1, 1996

The theme of political commitment is explored from an unusual and rewarding perspective in this moving short novel, set in Fascist-ruled Portugal in 1938, by the Italian author of Requiem (1994), etc. Its unsuspecting hero is Dr. Pereira, a former Lisbon crime reporter who now edits the ``culture page'' of the cautiously apolitical newspaper Lisboa. Pereira himself eschews political opinions, but finds he's drowning in them after he hires a young university graduate, Monteiro Rossi, to write ``advance obituaries of great writers who might die at any moment.'' The latter writes ``nothing but raving revolutionary stuff''—he can't help himself; Pereira, declaring Rossi's effusions ``unpublishable,'' fills the page with his own translations of favorite writers. But Pereira is soon overtaken by events; involved against his will in his protÇgÇ's dangerous affairs; accused of concealing treasonable sentiments in the stories (by Balzac and Daudet) that he innocently translates; and pushed toward a gesture of defiance that brings the novel to a wonderfully satisfying and surprising end—because we could not have guessed him capable of it, and because we do anticipate his fate, which Tabucchi refrains from specifically disclosing (the story is narrated by an unidentified interrogator whose repeated phrase crediting the Doctor's statements under questioning give the novel its' title). Pereira is a marvelously complex creation: An aging widower who talks to his dead wife's photograph, overweight, timid, afflicted with a heart condition, self-indulgent, yet fundamentally moral, even courageous. The raising of his consciousness proves every bit as convincing as it is awkward and hesitant. One of the most intriguing and appealing character studies in recent European fiction, and easily the best work of Tabucchi's to have appeared in English translation. Read full book review >
REQUIEM by Antonio Tabucchi
Released: May 27, 1994

A short, food-filled fictional walk in and around the city of Lisbon by a distinguished Italian author and translator of Portuguese that culminates in a dream-time meeting with an unnamed writer who one assumes the poet Fernando Pessoa. In a prefatory note, Tabucchi calls it a ``sonata''—about places and people deeply important to him and thus worthy of solemnity—but nonetheless, he explains, a piece of music better played on a barrel-organ than on a church organ. Beginning and ending in Lisbon and stretching to areas outside the city and into the realm of dreams and the dead, the narrator languidly picks up people and places he has known and enters into lazy discourse with them: a dead friend named Slowacki, the narrator's father in his youth, a barman at the Museum of Ancient Art, hotel keepers, cooks, a ``seller of stories.'' There's great attention to eating, drinking, and digestion: Meals and incidental food memories build the novelette into almost a new kind of dreamscape cookbook (indeed, the translator provides ``A Note on Recipes in This Book'' at the end). The narrator returns to Lisbon for an appointment with the Pessoa-like ``writer,'' who irritably defends himself against charges of Europeanism and Avant-Gardism. The discourse brushes lightly over some talk of the new, posh Lisbon, but the book really isn't about the city: It's some sort of internal parable of the artistic life. The voice is expansive and satisfied and almost seems good- naturedly to say, ``You wouldn't understand.'' Reading this is like having a buzzed after-dinner conversation with a mind too brilliant to get into nuts and bolts. And yet the streamlike writing, spliced by endless commas, contains a charm that shines through the monochrome. Read full book review >