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The Skin (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – November 5, 2013


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The Skin (New York Review Books Classics) + Kaputt (New York Review Books Classics) + Diary of a Man in Despair (New York Review Books Classics)
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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590176227
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590176221
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

The author buries himself in the bleakness of Naples, transformed by defeat into an open-air market of duplicity, prostitution, and half-interred bodies, all of it overseen by Americans who in their star-spangled naivete never completely understand exactly why they are there. [...] In The Skin he acheived a work of incredible artifice more solid than a house. The novel still reads like a noble attempt to render an ignoble moment without pity. —Eric Banks

Review

“An embodiment of Europe’s bad conscience, Malaparte’s voice was one that right-thinking people of every denomination preferred not to hear. That is why this difficult book was so hated and condemned when it first appeared, and remains so well worth reading.” —The New Statesman

“The sordid underclass of the town possess a lust for life and a will to live, and the unbearable becomes bearable - even magnified - for the reader in this beautiful homage to his hometown which Malaparte tinges with the absurd and black humor.” —Vogue Paris 

“In The Skin the war is not yet over, but its conclusion is already decided. The bombs are still falling, but falling now on a different Europe. Yesterday no one had to ask who was the executioner and who the victim. Now, suddenly, good and evil have veiled their faces; the new world is still barely known . . . the person telling the tale is sure of only one thing: he is certain he can be certain of nothing. His ignorance becomes wisdom.” —Milan Kundera

“Malaparte enlarged the art of fiction in more perverse, inventive and darkly liberating ways than one would imagine possible, long before novelists like Philip Roth, Robert Coover, and E. L. Doctorow began using their own and other people’s histories as Play-Doh.” —Gary Indiana

“Surreal, disenchanted, on the edge of amoral, Malaparte broke literary ground for writers from Ryszard Kapuscinski to Joseph Heller.” —Frederika Randall, Wall Street Journal
 
“A skilled guide to the lowest depths of Europe’s inferno.” —Adrian Lyttelton, The Times Literary Supplement
 
“A scrupulous reporter? Probably not. One of the most remarkable writers of the 20th century? Certainly.” Ian Buruma

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Egan on December 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As with Malaparte's other book about WWII, Kaputt, this one is mesmerizingly appalling. Set almost entirely in Naples after the Allies landed, Malaparte weaves together commentary on the American national character with musings on the mid-century degradation of western civilization. He describes Neapolitans, both high and low, as a race unto its own -- a race of "paga-tholics," or "catho-gans." And the Italian landscape is itself an ever present character. Mount Vesuvius, the island of Capri, Monte Cassino, and the Via Appia. A must-read for devotees of WWII literature.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Mccarthy on December 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
Allow me to begin with praise for the prose. Whether it's the gift of Malaparte or his translator, or both, the writing itself is glorious. It flows, and flows, and flows, and each and every story has its own magical and magnetic attraction.

As for the story or, should I rather say, the six or seven stories themselves, they are almost unspeakably original in the casual and aloof way he writes about moral, spiritual, and physical degradation. This is a dark story about us humans, and what happens when, as Malaparte narrates, the human animal is left with nothing but an attempt to detach itself from the horrors that are taking place in and around it. Unspeakable things happen, and they are seen and noted as if they were ordinary and everyday experiences. This is a dark tale about what can happen when all moral and spiritual barriers are broken. I warmly recommend it to you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By michael train on April 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a great and shocking book like his other masterpiece 'Kaputt" I shows us war from the inside. His has an unique viewpoint( having started out as an Italian Fascist) He has a view of the American soldier that we cannot find anywhere else. Stylistically he approaches poetry, even in translation.
Recommended for mature readers with a grasp of 20th century history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JAK on June 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
The Skin is a follow up to Kaputt.There Malaparte writes about what he saw as an Italian war correspondent on the Eastern Front in WW2.It's a perspective useful for Americans because , after-all it's the enemies perspective.Italians were participating in the war against Russia with Hungarians , Bulgarians , Romanians and of course Germans.It is a chronicle of atrocities.Still Malaparte stays pretty lucid .By the time of The Skin he's begun to lose it.There are sequences in the book that are clearly fantasy, even hallucination.It's Naples 1944 and Malaparte , an early Fascist who marched on Rome,is now a liaison officer to the Allies.He has a house in Capri(used as a setting in Goddard's CONTEMPT).Naples is a mess to put it mildly.The dead are everywhere and the people engage in behavior that is , well ,what starving desperate conquered people are apt to engage in.Humor and dread are everywhere .Malaparte suspects , no good will come of this.His perspective is actually rather strange.He's fixated on homosexuals and I think would now be seen as a homophobe.He thinks Communists are ridiculous and would a few years later join the Communist Party.At one point he talks about remaining a Christian .Well he did reconcile with the Catholic Church about the same time he became a Communist.

Malaparte loves description!He's very erudite and some of the description is brilliant.However he does have a tendency to go on a bit and can become a bore.The fantasy - magical realist stuff doesn't really work.Those prove to be minor flaws in an otherwise riveting spectacle.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Truck Tronti on December 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
This novel is so amazing. Strange, artful, rather sacreligious about .... everything. Very funny, slightly horrific. I feel like i've been waiting forever for it to come back into print, after reading a library copy a decade ago. Beautiful new edition.
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