Italy’s great chronicler of the macabre and hilarious terrors of growing up geeky arrives in English at last.
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 color 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 an encyclopedic fantasist on a par with Kafka, Poe, and Borges.
“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