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by Italo Svevo & translated by William Weaver

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-41330-8
Publisher: Knopf

A gritty English version by Italophile Weaver (Open City: Seven Writers and Rome, 1999, etc.) resurrects one of the indispensable 20th-century novels: the work of a prosperous businessman (whose real name was Ettore Schmitz), it’s a majestically ironic in-depth portrayal, in his own reluctant words, of its eponymous protagonist’s ruefully unromantic struggles with his domineering father, then the querulous family into which he marries, as well as the ignoble ravages of adultery and aging, psychoanalysis and tobacco addiction. You can hear Flaubert’s pugnacious mandarin contempt for all things bourgeois, and Dostoevsky’s furious comic voice in “Svevo’s” measured revelations of the slow erosive effects of quotidian disillusionment and passivity. A revolutionary book, and arguably (in fact, probably) the finest of all Italian novels.