Other books by NYRB authors
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I'll have to give a bump to Zeno's Conscience by Italo Svevo (NYRB publishes his As a Man Grows Older). It's funny, well-written and I always enjoy good psychological novels. The book is the memoir of whiny, neurotic Zeno - written at the behest of his therapist - and follows his relationships, business problems and addiction to smoking.
I have seen Zeno's Conscience on friend's bookshelves and in bookshop displays so I feel like it is one of those books that is making it's way to my reading list and you may have just tipped it onto the list.
A brooding novel, the sort with no vulgar action, The Devil in the Hills holds one rapt with the atmosphere it creates. It is a simple story of three students who fall in with a decadent older couple and end up spending time with them at their remote country estate. A gun appears early in the novel, and though it does go off once, the convulsive explosion with which one expects the novel to end, and to which a lesser novelist would have had recourse, never occurs. Instead it is the relationship among the friends, the descriptions of Italian city, village, and country life, the beauty of the prose (translated by D.D. Paige) that keeps one turning pages, and convinces one that the author, Cesare Pavese was, indeed, an artist of the first rank.
Another book I enjoyed also set in a tuberculosis ward--only this one is true--is Betty MacDonald's The Plague and I. I was recently in the Czech Republic where all Betty MacDonald's adult books are available in Czech. Apparently she is still popular there.
Also - if NYRB published anything else by Krudy, I'd definitely purchase it.
ah -- I see your review is on the book's main page. I wonder if Jansson was ever in Florida. Anybody know?
Regarding Tove Jansson and her knowledge of Florida:
After some web searching I've learnt that she found travelling very important but until the sixties she had only been in Europe and Northern Africa. Then in 1971-72 she and her life companion Tuulikki Pietilä (who by the way was born in the U.S.A., but far from Florida – in Seattle, WA) made a trip around the world via Japan, Hawaii, and Mexico and finally through the U.S.A. up to New York. I have not found any detailed description of this trip or if it included some time in St. Petersburg or even Florida. All I found was that they stayed for an extended period of time in New Orleans where she finished writing The Summer Book.
Sun City was published two years after this journey, in 1974.
You can read a bit about her travels here: http://www.moomin.com/tove/eng/matkalla.html
As always, you are a fount of information. Thank you.
I wrote a little bit about it & linked to the introduction by Brian Evenson, on our blog: http://bit.ly/ekomdl.