In his acclaimed work Danube, Claudio Magris painted a vast canvas stretching from the source of the river to the Black Sea. Now he focuses on the tiny borderlands of Istria and Italy where he was born and where he has lived most intensely. From the forests of Monte Nevoso, to the hidden valleys of the Tyrol, to a Trieste cafe, Microcosms pieces together a mosaic of stories - comic, tragic, picaresque, nostalgic - from life's minor characters. Their worlds might be small, but they are far from minimalist: in them flashes the great, the meaningful, the unrepeatable significance of every existence. Microcosms won the Strega Prize in 1997.
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(197mm x 130mm x 18mm)
The Harvill Press
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
The one-word title is on the button. The microcosms that the author reveals in rich poetic prose are those of his homeland, the lands that lie between the eastern Alps and the Adriatic, centred culturally on Trieste but historically fragmented by millennia of fluid borders. It is the epitome of Europe, each area painfully distinct in geography and people. Divided and diverse, these lands retain a character that has defied the finality of the nation state's remorseless historical progress. It is these contradictions that the author tries to resolve as he leaves the tables of Trieste's faded cafe society. From the dark, wooded slopes of Mount Nervoso the narrative travels down isolated Tyrolean valleys, crossing the Po valley to skim the surface of the tranquil lagoons east of Venice before reaching out across the crystal-clear Adriatic to the archipelago of islands that litter its coast. An exploration of people as much as landscape, this is a lyrical travel book, filled with anecdote and history, revealing the minutiae of life of a people sidelined and divided by history. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Claudio Magris
CLAUDIO MAGRIS, scholar and critic, was born in Trieste in 1939. After graduating from the University of Turin, he lectured there in German Language and Literature from 1970 to 1978. He holds a chair in Germanic Studies in the University of Trieste, and was for a period a member of the Italian parliament. He is the author of works of literary criticism and plays and has translated works by Isben, Kleist, and Schnitzler. He won international acclaim for his remarkable study of middle Europe, Danube. His novel, A Different Sea is also published by Harvill.