Salon recommends

Nervy, sexy stories from a rediscovered Italian master, and more.


Salon Staff
June 11, 2001 11:00PM (UTC)

What we're reading, what we're liking

Love in Vain: Selected Stories by Federigo Tozzi, translated by Minna Proctor
We're living in the Golden Age of the Rediscovered Writer. Never before have so many worked so hard to republish the works of authors known to so few. From Dawn Powell to Paula Fox, from Charles Portis to Richard Yates, there's an inspiring -- or, depending on your point of view, sobering -- list of writers unjustly neglected in their own times and now enjoying a belated heyday.

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Add to that number Federigo Tozzi, an Italian writer who died suddenly in 1920 at age 37, leaving behind five novels and 120 short stories. The stories collected here show off Tozzi's irresistible blend of stark realism and wild passion. His lovers love so hard it hurts; they wring every ounce of pleasure they can out of their simple lives, but they're also never far from a reckoning with disappointment, loss and other ugly realities.

These stories were written in the early 20th century, but their sexual frankness, along with a sort of adorable self-conscious neuroticism that afflicts many of the characters, make them seem strangely modern.

-- Maria Russo

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