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Cityby Alessandro Baricco
Baricco's characters unfold like big city streets; they meander and zoom through scenes that are scintillating, sad, thrilling, confusing, pathetic, and hilariously funny. Shatzy Shell ("no relation to the oil company") and Gould (a bed-wetting prodigy being groomed for the Nobel Prize) hang precariously on the fringe, delightfully unwilling and painfully unable to conform to mainstream customs and expectations. Part spaghetti Western, part boxing epic, part treatise on intellectual honesty, City dazzles with profound imagination. Enjoy it twice.
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the international bestseller Silk ("A riveting, lyrical love story" — Alan Cheuse, NPR) and the acclaimed Ocean Sea ("Astonishing...vividly erotic" — Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times) comes an entirely new species of fiction: a panoramic Cartesian comic book of a novel — with superheroes, boxers, cowboys, and one bed-wetting prodigy expected to win the Nobel Prize.
Baricco?s wildly inventive story, set in the United States, describes the improbable relationship between two untethered souls: Gould, a thirteen-year-old genius, and Shatzy Shell, his thirtysomething governess. Except for each other, they abide beyond human connection, each in a private world of serial imagination: in Shatzy?s case, the violent Wild West show she has been improvising into a tape recorder since the age of six; in Gould?s, the mock-heroic tale of an underdog boxer, which the boy tells to his imaginary friends, a giant and a mute. With the narrative logic of a comic strip, City?s quicksilver prose flows unpredictably between the whimsy of childhood conjuring and the serpentine realm of metaphysics, cunningly reminding us how the imaginings of children can harbor the stuff of tragedy, while the grandest ideas of adults are often strictly for kids.
By turns hilarious and deeply sad, City is an American original, penned by a brilliant Italian.
"City will be savoured by those who have retained a delight in well-turned tales." Joseph Farrell, Times Literary Supplement
The author of the international bestseller Silk now delivers a ravishing and wildly inventive novel about friendship, genius and its discontents, and the redemptive power of narrative. Somewhere in America lives a brilliant boy named Gould, an intellectual guided missile aimed at the Nobel Prize. His only companions are an imaginary giant and an imaginary mute. Improbably—and yet with impeccable logic--he falls into the care of Shatzy Shell, a young woman whose life up till that point has been equally devoid of human connection .
Theirs is a relationship of stories and of stories within stories: of Goulds evolving saga of an underdog boxer and the violent Western that Shatzy has been dictating into a tape recorder since the age of six. Out of these stories, Alessandro Baricco creates a masterpiece of metaphysical pulp fiction that recalls both Scheherazade and Italo Calvino. By turns exhilarating and deeply moving, City is irresistible.
From the author of the international best-seller Silk comes a ravishing and wildly inventive novel that suggests both The 1001 Nights and the masterpieces of Italo Calvino.<P>Somewhere in America lives Gould, a lonely boy-genius groomed for the Nobel Prize, his only friends an imaginary giant and an imaginary mute. Improbably, he becomes the charge of a young woman named Shatzy Shell, whose life has been equally lacking in human connection. They also have in common their heretofore private stories. With these stories, Gould and Shatzy forge a relationship that is at once hilarious, tragic, and deeply redemptive.
About the Author
Alessandro Baricco was born in Turin in 1958. The author of three previous novels, he has won the Prix Médicis étranger in France and the Selezione Campiello, Viareggio, and Palazzo del Bosco prizes in Italy. His third novel, Silk, became an immediate best-seller in Italy and has been translated into twenty-seven languages. It is the basis of a forthcoming opera by André Previn and a film to be produced by Miramax.
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