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Me, You Paperback – November 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“High hopes in clear language, cautions against real evil, and scenes thick with poetic sentiment - these elements fuel the warmth to be found in De Luca's brief but affecting novels.” —The National

“Full of steadfast and simple charm… while still being steadfastly aware of the larger histories that are always playing out in the backgrounds of whatever it is that charms us in a momentary idyll.” —Bookslut

“De Luca lovingly, even rapturously, explores familiar territory with bittersweet romanticism… De Luca writes like a dream, passionately but not effusively, and he treats his characters with both respect and affection.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In the United States, nostalgia for the 1950's runs to baseball, heavy petting and the first stirrings of rock-and-roll. [Me, You], set on an island off the coast of Italy during those years, evokes an entirely different longing -- not for our own false Golden Age but for the harsh beauty of a wounded and willfully innocent Italy unable to come to grips with its role in the Holocaust.” —New York Times Book Review
“An alluring and poignant story...Brombert’s translation ranges from clear to shimmeringly lyrical.” —Publishers Weekly
“Beautifully written.” —Library Journal

“Recounted in brusque, straightforward prose, the text pays homage to the brutal forces of the sea and Caia’s powerful yearning to see in the narrator all she holds most dear, Me, You is an excellent introduction to this well-respected Italian novelist and an unforgettable tale of coming of age.” -San Francisco Book Review

About the Author

Erri De Luca was born in Naples in 1950 and today lives in the countryside near Rome. He is the author of several novels, including God's Mountain and Three Horses (Other Press). He taught himself ancient Hebrew, Yiddish and translated several books of the Bible into Italian. His work has being translated and published in more than 30 languages. He is the most widely read Italian author alive today as well as an international best seller.
Beth Archer Brombert's most recent translations from Italian are Italo Svevo's masterpiece, Senilità (in English, Emilio's Carnival) and Cheese, Pears and History in a Proverb by Massimo Montanari. She is the author of two widely acclaimed biographies: Cristina, Portraits of a Princess and Edouard Manet, Rebel in a Frock Coat (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 143 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590514793
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590514795
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Erri De Luca (writer, screenwriter), born in Napoli (1950) is a writer, novelist, story-teller, essayist, translator and poet. He has published more than 60 books, numerous collections of short stories and poems, translated in more than 30 languages. He is considered by many literary experts "a master of the Italian language of the past two decades." His grandmother was Ruby Hammond, an American woman who came in Italy in the first years of the past century. His name, Erri, is an Italian version of Harry, his uncle's name. Erri De Luca started writing when he was a student. For about twenty years he has been a manual worker. His first novel, "Not Here, Not Now", was published in Italy in 1989. He is a translator from Ancient Hebrew and Yiddish, and is an appreciated translator of several books of the Ancient Covenant. He was awarded the France Culture Prize in 1994 for his "Aceto, arcobaleno", the Laure Bataillon Award in 2002, for "Tre cavalli" (Three horses), and the Femina Etranger for "Montedidio" (translated: God's Mountain). In 2010 he was bestowed with the German International Literary Petrarca Award. Erri De Luca appeared in a cameo role in the movie "L'isola", by Costanza Quatriglio, and made his debut as a screenwriter and leading actor in the short film "Di la' del vetro" (Beyond the Glass), presented at the Venice Film Festival in 2011. In "The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars", a screenplay he wrote, he also plays a small role. De Luca has been a member of the jury at the Cannes Festival in 2003. He wrote and starred in several plays including the theatrical drama "In viaggio con Aurora" (Traveling with Aurora). De Luca contributes regularly to several newspapers and magazines. He is a passionate mountain climber. He currently lives in the country near Rome.

 "I consider bombing an act of terrorism. To better express my condemnation against such acts, perpetrated in the former Yugoslavia by NATO in the '90s, I decided to cross over and live in Sarajevo (Bosnia). There, I experienced first hand the fear induced by the sound of air-raid sirens, that eerie sound my mother often told me when, during WWII, our Naples, then occupied by the Nazis, was regularly bombed by the Allied Forces planes.
 "Invincible is not the one who always wins, but he who, after repeated defeats, keeps raising up to give it another fight."
 "I learned how to breathe in synchrony with the city's [Naples] sighs of relief, with its flashes of anger, its catarrhal coughs and bursts of laughter. My writing is informed by the sulfur and the carbon monoxide of the braziers lit in small rooms overlooking icy, suffocating streets. It comes from the smell of home-roasted coffee and the feint gurgle of the pot cooking Sunday's thick sauce all night by the heat of a candle."
 "Naples is a female being for its geographically concave body. It's a male for the sea that surges and penetrates it. Two sexes in one body: Naples is Adam before he lost his rib. Not a hermaphrodite, rather the invasion of one sex into other."


 Non ora, non qui, Feltrinelli, 1989
 Una nuvola come tappeto, Feltrinelli, 1991
 Aceto, Arco baleno, Feltrinelli, 1992
 I colpi dei sensi, Fahrenheit 451, Milano, 1993
 Prove di risposta, Edizioni Nuova Cultura, Roma, 1994
 In alto a sinistra, Feltrinelli, 1994
 Pianoterra, articoli, Qiqajon, Bose, Magnano, 1995
 "Il cronista scalzo e altri scritti", Legatoria del Sud
 Alzaia, Feltrinelli, 1997
 Ora prima, Qiqajon, Bose, Magnano, 1997
 Tu, mio, Feltrinelli, 1998
 Tufo, Dante & Descartes, 1999
 Tre cavalli, Feltrinelli, 1999 (Three Horses, Other Press)
 "Un papavero rosso all'occhiello senza coglierne il fiore", Interattiva, 2000
 Montedidio, Feltrinelli, 2002 (God's Mountain, Other Press)
 Opera sull'acqua e altre poesie' (poetry)', Einaudi, 2002
 Lettere da una citta' bruciata, Dante & Descartes, 2002
 Nocciolo d'oliva, EMP, 2002
 Il contrario di uno, Feltrinelli, 2003
 Immanifestazione" Dante & Descartes, 2003
 "Morso di luna nuova. Racconto per voci in tre stanze", Mondadori, 2004
 "Precipitazioni", Dante & Descartes, 2004
 Chisciottimista, Dante & Descartes, 2005
 In nome della madre, Feltrinelli, 2006
 Sulla traccia di Nives, Mondadori, 2006
 Napolide, Dante & Descartes, 2006
 "Sottosopra" (with Gennaro Matino), Mondadori, 2007
 "lettere fraterne" (with Izet Sarajilic), Dante & Descartes, 2007
 "L'isola e' una conchiglia", La Conchiglia, 2008
 "Almeno cinque" (with Gennaro Matino), Feltrinelli, 2008
 "L'ospite incallito" (poetry), Einaudi, 2008
 "Il cielo in una stalla", Infinito, 2008
 Tentativi di scoraggiamento (a darsi alla scrittura), Dante & Descartes, 2009 (Attempts at discouragement (when taking up writing))
 "Penultime notizie circa Ieshu/Gesu'", Messaggero, 2009
 Il giorno prima della felicità, Feltrinelli, 2009 ("The day before happiness", Other Press)
 Il peso della farfalla, Feltrinelli, 2009
 Tu non c'eri, Dante & Descartes, 2010
 "Rivolte inestirpabili", Forum Edizioni, 2010
 E disse, Feltrinelli, 2011
 Le sante sello scandalo, La Giuntina, 2011
 I pesci non chiudono gli occhi, Feltrinelli, 2011

 "Esodo/Nomi", Feltrinelli, 1994
 "Giona/Iona", Feltrinelli, 1995
 "kohelet/Ecclesiaste", Feltrinelli, 1996
 "Il libro di Ruth", Feltrinelli, 1999
 "Salmo secondo ovvero Elogio del massimo timore", in Micromega, 2000
 "Noah Ansheldell'altro mondo" (of Dovid Katz), translation from Yiddish, Dante & Descartes, 2002
 "Vita di Sansone dal libro Giudici/Shoftim, Feltrinelli, 2002
 "Vita di Noe'/Noa", Feltrinelli, 2004
 "L'ospite di pietra. L'invito a morte di Don Giovanni. Piccola tragedia in versi", Feltrinelli, 2005
 "Canto del popolo yiddish messo a morte (of Ytshak Katzenelson), Monadori, 2009

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Gieber on November 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Outstanding book, but a WARNING for those who have learned to enjoy DeLuca's work be aware that this book has been published under two different titles: "You, Me" is the same book as "Sea of Memory." This is not pointed out in Amazon's review of the book -- although another person did in his review of the book [which I didn't read initially because I am so fond of DeLuca's work that I would buy anything new by him].
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Format: Paperback
Me, You is one of those beautifully written and tender books that talk about the past; a past during which everything seemed to be much simpler than today and where people were more friendly and open-hearted, and the summers smelt of play and love.

It is during a summer that a city boy arrives at an island, where all of a sudden he feels a sense of joy and unlimited freedom overwhelming his youthful being. He was, as he puts it, a city kid, but during the summer he used to be transformed into a savage.

However that's not exactly true; he did not transform into someone else when he was there, he just became his real self; a self that enjoyed going fishing with his uncle and mysterious Nicola, who fought during WWII in Sarajevo, and who taught him the ways of the sea without ever telling me what to do, and who also told him that from the sea you get what it gives and not what you want. He also liked wandering around the island and meeting people, following his cousin Daniel to the beach and participating in his parties and, every now and then, being naughty.

The summers always made him feel rich, but this one was bound to prove his best ever, since during it he would meet a girl, a bit older than him, that would fill his heart with joy and make him feel for the first time how it is for someone to be in love: "Within Caia was a revelation that could be reached by love".

Caia was not an ordinary young woman. Most of the time she looked deeply lost in thought, every now and then she seemed to bathe in melancholy, but she always had an aura of wisdom surrounding her being. It was as if life has taken everything away from her and gave her in exchange an almost unnatural, for her age, maturity.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
In the 1950s the teen spends the summer with his uncle and Nicola on a Neapolitan barrier island. The lad stays mostly with Nicola who uses the uncle's boat to fish and taught the sixteen year old how to fish.

He meets Caia, a Yugoslavian war orphan who was rescued from Nazi atrocities that left her family dead by Italian soldiers. She is spending the summer on the island with a friend. Nicola warns him to be careful with his affections. Still he falls in love with Caia who is Jewish and begins to explore Italy's role in World War II in which his father was a soldier. The Slav and the Italian teen forge a tender relationship as she allows him to use the Yiddish pronunciation of her name "Chaiele" and dubs him her Tateh as he feels a need to protect the vulnerable orphan. When he gets into a fight with German tourists singing the SS anthem he takes it as an affront to his girlfriend but his cousin Daniele intercedes. Meanwhile he increasingly gets more and more frustrated as his demands about the war remain unanswered except by the stoic fisherman.

This is a powerful look at the psyche aftermath of the Nazi reign of terror on Europe. The Italians feel ashamed for what happened but would prefer Caia as a surviving reminder of Never Forget atrocities to leave, and the family of the protagonist who narrates the drama prefers he stop asking questions on events they want buried and forgotten. While the Americans debate the merits of the three New York centerfielders, Europe struggles to deal with turning blind during the war and wanting to remain myopic afterward re the Holocaust.

Harriet Klausner
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Man of La Book on November 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
Me, You by Erri De Luca is a fic­tional com­ing of age story of a boy at the end of World War II. The book was pre­vi­ously released as Sea of Mem­ory.

Me, You by Erri De Luca is set in a small Ital­ian fish­ing vil­lage after World War II ended, in the 1950s. The story takes place over one sum­mer where the boy explores his new found feel­ings, love, lost and the grim real­i­ties of war.

The author tells the story with sen­si­tiv­ity and depth. The other char­ac­ters in the book give the nar­ra­tive depth, mostly in answer to the curi­ous boy's ques­tions. While we all love to read and dis­cuss his­tory, we often find that first­hand accounts are not easy to come by. The nar­ra­tor of this book finds that as well. Ques­tion­ing the vil­lage men about the war, not being sat­is­fied by the answers, he dis­cov­ers that instead of answer­ing they sim­ply clam up.

For our nar­ra­tor, the war is his­tory, for the adults the war pro­vokes hor­ren­dous mem­o­ries of serv­ing in the Ital­ian Army which was con­trolled by the Nazis. Some adults man­aged to avoid com­mit­ting war crimes and atroc­i­ties, but oth­ers are still bogged by guilt doing things they were ordered to do against their con­scious, oth­ers helped those who they were sup­pose to oppress.

As the boy hears more sto­ries, the angrier he gets at the Ger­mans. When the nar­ra­tor befriends a Jew­ish girl, a holo­caust sur­vivor, his anger gets harsher. Caia, or Chaia, is attracted to him as well, as the friend­ship deep­ens we learn more about Caia's deep secrets.

The story revolves around the life in the vil­lage, the rela­tion­ship between the boy and his girl, the fish­er­men, fam­ily mem­bers and atmos­phere.
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