A well-known Italian writer and critic, Aldo Rosselli (1934-2013) was born in Florence. The son of Nello Rosselli (the famous historian and militant antifascist who was assassinated, along with his brother Carlo, by order of Mussolini), he lived also in Switzerland, England, and the United States. In 1956, along with Roberto Lerici, he co-founded and became editor-in-chief of the Lerici publishing house. A specialist in American literature and contributor to many Italian newspapers, reviews, and cultural television programs, he published his first novel Il megalomane (“The Megalomaniac”) with the Vallecchi publishing house in 1971. A long series of novels and collections of short-stories ensued, amongst which Episodi di guerriglia urbana (“Episodes of Urban Guerrilla Warfare”, Marsilio, 1972), Il naufragio dell'Andrea Doria (“The Shipwreck of the Andrea Doria”, Bompiani, 1987), Prove tecniche di follia (“Test-Runs for Insanity”, Empirìa, 2000). In 1971 and 1984, he was short-listed for the prestigious Premio Strega. The present volume is the first example of his writing to have been translated into English.
The selection, title, and translation of the collection are by the poet Nail Chiodo, a long-time friend of Rosselli whom the latter introduced to an Italian-speaking audience in the literary magazine he published from 1999 to 2000, “Inchiostri”. The two also collaborated closely on a feature-length underground film by Chiodo that was 24 years (1977-2000) in the making, The Insignificant Other. Chiodo's own writing is online at www.nailchiodo.com. He is also director of Lyrical Translations, a professional literary translation service (www.lyrical-translations.com). Jonathan Galassi defined the short-stories “sharp, perceptive, and affecting”. Chiodo likes to consider Rosselli's writing in general as “the reply of Europe, and of Italy in particular, to Henry James”. He has this to say about the present collection: “It is an intensely troubling book, and like all such books contains the possibility of its own nemesis. To penetrate depths of suffering and endurance such as it effectively describes requires all the breadth the reader can afford. Hence it can also act as a finish-line, a point from which it is a whole new ball-game: the sugar within the sugar-coated bullet. Something to be reread perhaps not right away.”