Für die deutsche Version hier klicken    .|.     = Click on the book to read a sample chapter

Alessandro Baricco, Copyright: unknown
Alessandro Baricco
born: 1958
in: Turin

1988 .|. Il Genio in Fuga .|. Constellations: Mozart,
     Rossini, Benjamin, Adorno
1991 .|. Castelli di Rabbia .|. Land of Glass .|. Bookworm's Comment
1992 .|. L'anima di Hegel e
     le Mucche des Wisconsin
1993 .|. Oceano mare .|. Ocean Sea Excerpt from Random House .|. Bookworm's Comment
1994 .|. Novecento .|. Bookworm's Comment
1995 .|. Barnum: Cronache dal
     grande show
1996 .|. Seta .|. Silk Excerpt from Random House
1998 .|. Barnum 2: Altre cronache
     dal grande show
1999 .|. City .|. City Excerpt from Random House
2002 .|. Next Excerpt at Google Books
2002 .|. Senza Sangue Excerpt from Digilander .|. Without Blood Excerpt from Random House
2004 .|. Omero, Iliade Excerpt at Google Books .|. An Iliad: A Story of War Excerpt from Random House
2005 .|. Questa Storia
2006 .|. I Barbari: Saggio sulla mutazione

Alessandro Baricco, Castelli di rabbia
"Castelli di Rabbia / Land of Glass" (Piper, Paperback (German), 1st edition, 1999, read: October 02)
"In the small town of Quinnipak somewhere in Europe sometime in the 19th century lives Mr. Rail, director of the glass factory. He travels around the world a lot and before each return home he sends a small package with a jewel to his beautiful wife Jun. He dreams of an infinite and absolutely straight railroad. In Quinnipak also lives Pekisch, inventor and composer, who carries all notes within him. One day the genius architect Horace comes along to build a glass palace of never before seen dimensions with the help of Mr. Rail." [Translation]

A town like a fairy tale where only bizarre people live, described by a true poet. You have to let yourself in for "Land of Glass" because it's style isn't easy. But once you've found access to it be prepared for a true literary treat.
Baricco's style makes one think of a dream in which parts don't seem to fit together, passages are repeated without sense, pauses come up and the impossible gets possible. As one can see in the end the comparison with a dream isn't that far fetched.

Regarding the story itself there isn't much more to tell than is already written in the cover text (see above citation). The main protagonists are characterized by an extreme excentricity. They mostly live to fulfill their dreams. Sadly this doesn't always work out and therefore there's a lot of sadness in the story. The best part is that you won't see all the connections while reading the story. But in the last chapter you'll be told something about the background and the town of Quinnipak and absolutely everything makes sense after hearing it. And after being startled that way you could start the novel all over again right away.
I think one can say for sure that this is a novel which can't be made into a movie that easily. And therefore it's a comforting feeling that Quinnipak and it's inhabitants will stay a product of your own imagination for a while. Nobody can come along and destroy the mental picture you've made. Because "Land of Glass" is a dream.
[Dorothée Büttgen, December 02]

Oceano mare (it.)      Ocean Sea (engl.)
"Oceano mare / Ocean Sea" (Piper, Paperback, 2nd German edition, 2002, read: November 03)
"An artist dips his brush in a cup of ocean water to paint a portrait of the sea. A scientist pens love letters to a woman he has yet to meet. An adulteress searches for relief from her proclivity to fall in love. And a sixteen-year-old girl seeks a cure from a mysterious condition that science has failed to remedy.
In Ocean Sea, critically acclaimed author Alessandro Baricco presents a hypnotizing postmodern fable of human malady - psychological, existential, erotic - and the sea as a means of deliverance. When his charactes check into a remote shoreline hotel, their fates begin to interact as if by design. Enter a mighty tempest and a ghostly mariner with a thirst for vengance, and the inn becomes a veritable Magic Mountain where destiny and desire battle for the upper hand. [...]"

Alessandro Baricco is nothing else than a poet who writes the most wonderful poetic stories I have read so far. Sometimes his words or the sense behind his verses don't seem easy to look through or the storyline seems to be quite confusing but in the end one certainly notices that one has read a most magical peace of poetry.
The story about the guests at the Pension Almayer may be Baricco's weirdest and strangest (at least of those I've read so far) but its definitely worth the time. Its a little masterpeace of stoytelling!

To get a taste of Baricco's beautiful language please check out the sample chapter at Random House. To cite one of my favourite passages I would have to translate it myself, because I only own the German version of the book, and that wouldn't do Mr. Baricco any justice.
[Dorothée Büttgen, April 04]

Novecento - Book, italian     DVD - The Legend of 1900
"Novecento" (Piper, Paperback (German), 1st Edition, 2000, read: August 01)
"At the beginning of the century the luxurious ocean liner Virginian shuttles back and forth between the old world and the new when an abandoned baby is found on board. The sailors christian it with the name of its year of birth: Novecento - 1900. It is destined to a strange fate: Novecento will never leave the ship as long as he lives. He becomes a legend as a pianist of the ocean. He only knows his music, which has a magical attraction on everyone who listens."

Acutally this story is a play complete with stage directions. While reading one has the impression of seeing the characters on stage in person and to have an interesting hour at the theater. Because it doesn't take much longer to read this story when one isn't interrupted: the book only has 83 pages.
But during the story one can hear the music from the ocean pianist Novecento, smell the smell of the ocean on board of the ship and see the crowds of people in the harbor. I've rearly read something so "sensual" before. Anyone who is disappointed that the story is so short or that it isn't available in English yet should treat him/herself to Bariccio's other novels.
In 1998 the story was made into the movie "The Legend of 1900" by Giuseppe Tornatore with Tim Roth as Novecento.
[Dorothée Büttgen, October 01]

More great reviews at Bookworm's Lair:

Anne Fadiman - Confessions of a Common Reader Elizabeth Knox - The Vintner's Luck Salley Vickers - Miss Garnet's Angel

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