Italy’s great chronicler of the macabre and of growing up geeky.
Long before the latest vogue for autofiction, Michele Mari, one of Italy’s most beloved authors, cast his mind back to the days of his own childhood, and found it crawling with monsters. Raised on comic books and science fiction, the young Mari constructed an alternate universe for himself untouched by uncomprehending grownups or sadistic peers. Compared to the horrors of real life, Long John Silver and Cthulhu made for positively cuddly company; but little boys raised by beasts may well grow up beastly—or never grow up at all. Waking or sleeping, the obsessions of Mari’s youth seem to haunt his every adult thought. You, Bleeding Childhood stands as his first attempt to catalog this cabinet of wonders. Cult classics since their first publication, these loosely connected stories stand as the ideal introduction to a fantasist on a par with Kafka, Poe, and Borges.
Michele Mari is one of Italy’s most renowned novelists, poets, and translators. He teaches Italian literature at the Università degli Studi di Milano, and his translations from English include novels by John Steinbeck, H. G. Wells, Jack London, and George Orwell.
Brian Robert Moore is a literary translator whose published and forthcoming translations from the Italian include novels by Goliarda Sapienza and Lalla Romano. His translation of the novel Verdigris by Michele Mari is forthcoming from And Other Stories.
Brian Robert Moore is a literary translator whose published and forthcoming translations from the Italian include novels by Goliarda Sapienza and Lalla Romano. He received the 2021 PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature and a 2022 Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His translation of the novel Verdigris by Michele Mari is forthcoming from And Other Stories.
“Short stories from an Italian maestro finally translated into English [...] Amusing, disturbing, intoxicating tales of childhood terrors and obsessions.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review “Mari makes his English-language debut with a dazzling and sometimes surreal collection of reminiscences on childhood obsessions. [...] Mari delivers trenchant satires of nostalgia with deadpan grace and wit, resulting in stories that are as heartfelt as they are humorous, with great care given to descriptions of the characters’ foibles and idiosyncrasies. This is not to be missed.” —Publisher’s Weekly, starred review “If I were to give a book award to a living Italian writer, man or woman, I'd pick Michele Mari.” —Domenico Starone, I-Italy “The greatest living Italian writer.”— Andrea Coccia, Linkiesta “Michele Mari has written only beautiful books. The most beautiful of the beautiful is the short story collection You, Bleeding Childhood.” —Elena Stancanelli, La Repubblica “The charm that Mari exercises on his readers, from the most devoted to the most distracted, is incredible . . . More than anyone else, Michele Mari represents today a model of writer that seems on the point of disappearing—fully literary, lofty, in short, twentieth-century.” —Sara Marzullo, Esquire “Emotion, anger, nostalgia: but also affectionate humor, indulgent sympathy [in] a work that masterfully combines elegance and irony, psychological acumen and an understanding of form, eclectic culture and emotional vulnerability. [The work of a child] who developed an unstoppable passion for adventure books, for comics . . . [who] cultivated a fetishistic relationship with thought, with the imagination; but also with a stubborn self, wounded by the intensity of his perceptions.” —Alida Airaghi, SoloLibri “Michele Mari's mythology is that of the great darkness of Romanticism, even if he contemplates the oceans and the far places of the Earth from the safety of his library. I don't know if he is devoured . . . by an obsession, or if he is deeply enchanted . . . as by a vision he had in a dream . . . [But] he loves the darkness: crisscrossed by lightning, furrowed by thin trails of light. Around that night, his skillful rhetoric builds an endless echo chamber, in which his one voice resounds with the manifold voices of literature itself.” —Pietro Citati, La Repubblica “The world of Michele Mari is a world where monsters and tutelary gods (interchangeable?), where sixteenth-century literature and classic sci-fi pocket paperbacks coexist in sinister harmony; where writing is exorcism and never punishment: the only way to escape the quotidian . . . Mari is one of those writers who feed on their own obsessions, know how to paint them with words and phrases, to arrange those phrases into novels embodying those same obsessions.”—Tiziano Gianotti, Linkiesta