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Lamberto Lamberto Lambertoby Gianni Rodari
Synopses & Reviews
A fable for children and adults: a story of life, death, and terrorism—in the grand tradition of Exupéry’s The Little Prince. When we first meet Baron Lamberto, he is very rich and very ill. He owns twenty-six banks and has been diagnosed with twenty-six deadly ailments: only his butler Anselmo remembers them all.
On the advice of an Egyptian sage, Lamberto hires an army of servants to repeat his name over and over and over. It’s a recipe, he’s told, for eternal life.... Surprisingly, it works.
But Lamberto’s newfound youth is put at risk when a terrorist group lays siege to his private island in the mountains near Lake Orta. The Baron’s army of bank directors are held hostage, and an international media spectacle is born. Lamberto becomes the first casualty.
Based on the true-life terrorism of the Colombian M19 movement and the Red Brigades’ kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto is an adroit, witty, and poignant reflection on what happens when terrorism strikes.
But it’s also a fantastic tale: Our beloved Lamberto eventually springs back to life to negotiate with the terrorists against impossible odds. There are things, writes Rodari, “that only happen once.” In fact, “there are things that only happen in fairytales.”
"If Roald Dahl had rewritten The Picture of Dorian Gray to include a gang of 24 bandits and a giant balloon, the result might have been Rodari's wonderfully improbable novel that, for all its humor, is loosely based upon the 1978 kidnapping and murder of Italian politician Aldo Moro. 'The man whose name is spoken remains alive,' an Egyptian fakir tells an elderly millionaire named Lamberto, who thereupon pays a squad of employees to take shifts repeating his name 24 hours a day. Sure enough, the ostentatious Lamberto grows gradually younger, becoming 'straight, tall, blond, and athletic.' Lamberto's valet, Anselmo, supervises the enterprise, and his scheming nephew, Ottavio, stumbles upon it. Consumed with his renewed health and powers of physical regeneration, Lamberto is happily oblivious both to his nephew's nefarious actions and to the fate of the island within the hands of the bandits (all named Lamberto, too). Despite the absence of children in the story, advanced readers who like to see adults acting in ludicrous ways should enjoy Rodari's effervescent storytelling, which avoids the grim ending that met Moro. Shugaar finds deft translations for all the idioms, while Maggioni's antic ink drawings align with the absurdly hyperbolic tone. All ages. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A fable for children and adults: a story of life, death, and terrorism—in the grand tradition of Exupéry’s The Little Prince
When we first meet 93-year-old millionaire Baron Lamberto, he has been diagnosed with 24 life-threatening ailments—one for each of the 24 banks he owns. But when he takes the advice of an Egyptian mystic and hires servants to chant his name over and over again, he seems to not only get better, but younger.
Except then a terrorist group lays siege to his island villa, his team of bank managers has to be bussed in to help with the ransom negotiations, and a media spectacle breaks out . . .
A hilarious and strangely moving tale that seems ripped from the headlines—although actually written during the time the Red Brigades were terrorizing Italy—Gianni Rodari’s Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto has become one of Italy’s most beloved fables. Never before translated into English, the novel is a reminder, as Rodari writes, that “there are things that only happen in fairytales.”
About the Author
Gianni Rodari (October 23, 1920-April 14, 1980) was an Italian writer and journalist, most famous for his books for children. He won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1970 and is considered by many to be Italy’s most important twentieth-century children’s author. His books have been translated into many languages, though few have been published in English.
Antony Shugaar is an author and translator. He is the author, with the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., of I Lie for a Living: Dossiers on the Great Spies of All Time. He is the coauthor of Latitude Zero: Tales of the Equator (with Gianni Guadalupi) and Coast to Coast. He is also a freelance journalist, and reviews for the Boston Globe and the Washington Post.
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