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Kaputt

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  799 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Curzio Malaparte was a disaffected supporter of Mussolini with a taste for danger and high living. Sent by an Italian paper during World War II to cover the fighting on the Eastern Front, Malaparte secretly wrote this terrifying report from the abyss, which became an international bestseller when it was published after the war. Telling of the siege of Leningrad, of glitter ...more
Paperback, 437 pages
Published 1994 by Mondadori (first published 1944)
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M I think it landed on my list after reading Michael Ondaatje's interview with film editor Walter Murch.
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(showing 1-30 of 2,725)
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Jonfaith
Jul 06, 2014 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere in the meaty middle of Jacques Rivette's superb film Va Savoir two characters discuss the proper pronunciation of Curzio Malaparte's name. Apparently one character wasn't sufficiently stressing the Italianate swagger of such.

My wife bought me this book per my request. Kaputt is WWII war journalism from various fronts filtered through Malaparte's artistic eye. I found it startling. Herr Vollmann never formerly acknowledged a debt to this work, but it may have slipped his mind. The scene
...more
Szplug
Mar 26, 2011 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've written two prior reviews of this strange, revolting, macabre, beautiful book: some initial musings about fifty pages into it; a singularly outraged review at the midway point when I was all but ready to pack Malaparte and his sleazy manipulations in; and now this—final—one, in which that previous fire of ire has been reduced to a bed of barely smoldering embers, quenched by Malaparte's less morally reprehensible second half of the book and, frankly, his wizardry with the written word, whic ...more
knig
Rogozkin’s Cuckoo razzledazzled me by taking magical realism up a notch: making it situational rather than transactional concept. A Finn, Lapp and Russian end up cloistered together in Finland during WWII, communicating with each other in their own languages. An amicable, collaborative existence dawns, eloquent conversations ensue, despite the fact that there is no verbal understanding between the three, who are perfectly normal as standalone executors and surreal in combo. Its mesmerising, and ...more
AC
In turns utterly brilliant, or verbose and overwritten; cynical, embittered, touching, weeping, opportunistic -- layers upon layers of irony -- a fascist writer marching to his own drummer, and tumbling through history... from the ice horses of Lake Lagoda, to the final collapse and debris of Naples in 1943 -- surreal, felliniesque, bits of comoedia dell' arte and tragoedia dei uomini... some of the most beautiful writing about the northern skies of the summer sun... of landscapes, magnificent c ...more
Tosh
Jan 11, 2008 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Malaparte is an interesting guy. His residence was used in Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt" and he was a Fascist as a young man but ended up as a Marxist. During the war years he covered the war via an Italian press and had the opportunity to hang out with top Nazis. And this is the interesting part of "Kaputt" where he dines and is entertained by top-level Nazi command. You can smell the evil off the dinner plate.
Patrone
Jan 03, 2014 Patrone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What amazes me about Malaparte is the beauty of his prose despite the fact that he's chronicling some of history's most horrifying events. Watching "Amarcord" concurrently further cements my belief that Eye-talians sure have a gift for this ironic balance.
James
Sep 18, 2008 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all who feel the immanence of frozen horses
"'Hitler is a superior man. Don't you think he is a superior man?' As I hesitated, he looked fixedly at me, and added with a kindly smile: 'I should like to have your opinion of Hitler.'
'He is almost a man,' I replied.
'What?'
'Almost a man. I mean, not quite a real man.'
'Ach, so,' said Frank. 'You mean that he is an Übermensch, nicht wahr? --Superman, don't you? Yes, Hitler is not quite a real man; he is an Übermensch.'
From his end of the table, one of the guests broke in: 'Herr Malaparte h
...more
Vit Babenco
Dec 09, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kaputt is a book of opposites: high society and cabals of murderers, rude naturalism and celestial ideals, filthy squalor and divine art, brutal cruelty and abstract humanism – all these become interconnected and interchangeable.
The narration is sanguinarily metaphoric and tenebrously imaginative:
“Twisted tree roots broke through the crystal sheet like frozen serpents, – it seemed as if the trees drew sustenance from the ice, that the young leaves of a more tender green took their sap from that
...more
James Murphy
I really didn't care much for Kaputt. This is a disappointment since I read it in the wake of--and because of--the positive reading of his 2d novel, The Skin, which I judged to be one of the best novels I read in 2015. (To be honest, I was aware of the critical misgivings that've been expressed about Kaputt.)

As for what I disliked, I thought it lifeless. Especially compared to the snapcracklepop satire of The Skin. To be fair--and honest again--a sense of death hangs over the novel, so one expec
...more
S.
Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte I love not knowing what to expect from a book, not knowing the core setting or plot, or if there is one, not knowing anyone who’s read it, and having had no one either recommend it or wag a warning finger against it. It’s marvelous to enter a book unbiased.

I knew Kaputt was about WWII, and took a cue from the repugnant cover image, the red-fleshy gleam of fake teeth and gums. At least their tidiness makes one assume they’re fake. I say the image is “repugnant” but I love the cover. Beaming am
...more
Karla
Aug 02, 2012 Karla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kaputt, Curzio Malaparte (4)
My Italian friend, Luca, recommended this novel to me. He said it did for WWII what ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ did for WWI and I must agree. This not an easy book to read, with its indirect language and difficult subject, but it is important and powerfully moving. Malaparte was initially a supporter of Mussolini who became an observer and journalist on the Eastern front. One of the things that really sets this book apart is the unparalleled access he had to the
...more
LeAnne
Nov 28, 2015 LeAnne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a million years, I would not have picked up this obscure book published in the 40s had it not been listed by David Benioff as a source of information for "City of Thieves." In describing the narration of various novels, people will often use the term "unreliable narrator." Malaparte is THE poster child for that!

He may have been pro German before realizing that Hitler's defeat was around the corner (when he rewrote portions of the book to denigrate the Germans), but regardless, he was an Itali
...more
Justin Evans
May 27, 2009 Justin Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Fabulous tales from the dark side of human nature... and in the same kind of overblown prose as that description, for the most part. The first chapter's hard to get through if you're not into adjectives, which I'm not. But after that the set pieces start to cohere pretty well, and the author's evident self-loathing becomes more and more justifiable. Not sure I'll ever forget the frozen horses, the King of Poland, or the young prostitutes.
Compagno di Baal
Apr 15, 2016 Compagno di Baal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: preferiti
Imperdonabile l'ostracismo culturale cui Malaparte è sottoposto in Italia. Fuori dalla querelle tutta-fiction, autobio, auto-fiction, resta un malloppo di sangue e gelo finladese, cene, ratti e il capitolo finale superiore(view spoiler)
Lindsey
Oh Jesus. I just don't know. This book was like a Nazi/ghetto/communist acid trip. You can't tell which parts are true and because you can't tell, every sentence just fills you with horror and confusion. Mostly confusion. I came away from it thinking, "Wow, I kind of want to kick Malaparte right in his fucking head."
Speranza
Something like nothing I have ever read before. What a profoundly beautiful, macabre, disturbing, hilarious, incredible work. This is the real magical realism, or rather – magical brutalism.
Dwight
http://bookcents.blogspot.com/2011/02...

Kaputt proves to be a fictional memoir, or a fantasy intertwined with historical events, by Curzio Malaparte. Employed by an Italian newspaper during World War II, he was able to travel around Europe and to the Eastern Front, at ease with dignitaries, soldiers and peasants alike. A large part of the appeal of Kaputt (to me, anyway) lies with the uncertainty…the ambiguity…of and within many of the scenes. As Milan Kundera pointed out about the book, “It is
...more
Mark
Aug 07, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Curzio Malaparte's Kaputt is genre-bending house of horrors. Derived from his WWII dispatches for Corriere della Sera, Malaparte provides not only sickening eyewitness accounts from the eastern front, but from the dinner tables of the Nazi governors. Originally a follower of Mussolini, Malaparte fell afoul of the dictator and ended up in prison. Weaseling his way out, Malaparte became friendly with Mussolini's son-in-law Galeazzo Ciano, who helped set him up as a war correspondent. Malaparte vis ...more
Adelina
Mar 24, 2012 Adelina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Подреждам тази книга до "Доброжелателните" на Лител и "Живот и съдба" на Гросман. Трите създават една картина на Европа от Втората световна война.
"Капут" е написана като поредица импресии - мрачни, тежки, наситени с мирис на смърт. Има толкова ярки картини, че трябва да оставиш книгата за малко, за да можеш да ги преживееш и едва тогава да продължиш да четеш.
В края, след отчаянието и след като Малапарте те е убедил, че войната е осакатила всеки, че е убила душата на всеки, се прокрадва плаха на
...more
Ana Prates
Na verdade estou lendo a versão em quadrinhos que ganhei no amigo secreto do clube do livro mas não encontrei essa versão aqui no goodreads. Só pra registrar :)
Kobe Bryant
May 24, 2013 Kobe Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked the part where he sees Himmler in the sauna and talks about his pink round belly
Deniz Kabaağaç
Okumaya başlarken istekliydim ama doğrusu ön söz beni biraz yordu ve bundan dolayı sıkıntılı bir başlangıç yaptım. Ancak daha ilk sayfalarda kritik bir sorunun cevabını, kısmen de olsa, bulabileceğim bir metinle karşı karşıya olduğumu hissettim. Kafaları çok uzun zamandır kurcalayan, cevabı hep bulundu sanılıp bir süre sonra yok bu değilmiş denilen bir soru. Sadece Türk’lerin değil, Ruslar’ın, Araplar’ın, muhakkak Kürtler’in ve hatta bir çok Doğu Avrupa’lının zihnini zorlayan bir soru. Avrupa ne ...more
Rumi
Aug 23, 2010 Rumi marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
At first, it was the sheer absurdity of the book's title combined with the author's name (Kaputt and Curzio! Bulgarians know what I'm talking about) to draw out this book at Somnium Proxy's house and start reading it aloud, in all its glory.
It took 100 pages of this book to get us all laughing out of our minds, and some of the pearls of its genius will surely be used in conversation a lot over the next few months.
This book is such an entertaining read that I find it hard to describe my feelings
...more
Ren
His descriptions are pretty fantastic. I was surprised at how beautifully written some of it was. Obviously the best parts, and what I think are the most factual of the entire narrative, are when he's at intimate events with upper echelon Nazi leaders. So evil!! but very indicative of the thought processes and beliefs that were rampant at the time. He sometimes seems to sort of paint himself as a better person than he really was...I think...some of the things he says I'm not sure he could've act ...more
Prooost Davis
Nov 12, 2012 Prooost Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Kaputt" is presented as a memoir of World War II by a disaffected Italian fascist. As I began to read it, I found myself wondering whether it was a memoir or a novel. Malaparte, traveling around Europe as an Italian officer, had access to many Nazi officials, and he recounts dinner conversations with them, and paints unflattering portraits. When he quotes conversations, I wondered how he could possibly have said some of the things he claimed to have said without being tossed into a prison camp. ...more
Lorraine
Oct 21, 2015 Lorraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is totally brilliant and totally underrated. People are confused because they want to read the book as evidence of Malaparte's fascism. And more are confused because it seems fictional for a report. Read with your spine, as Nabokov advises. It seems the most accurate indicator of any book. And beware for Malaparte is a master ironist, and I wouldn't be too quick to chuck him in either category. Conceivably I can see the unhappiness that people like Benjamin might have had with his work (tho ...more
Richard G
May 14, 2010 Richard G rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: Simon S
this book took forever to read. it sapped my enthusiasm to turn the pages page by page but out of respect for uncle simon i had to read it. it was like reading against gravity. the book is about the axis powers and the goings ons behind the lines. malapartes travels through occupied russia, poland,some ally countries finland,romainia and neutral sweden he goes to cocktail parties of the higher ups and reports on what people are talking about and his impressions. it's very hard to believe that he ...more
Vassiliki Dass
Sep 27, 2015 Vassiliki Dass rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ο Μαλαπάρτε ήταν ένας μεγάλος λογοτέχνης και χρησιμοποιώντας μια γλώσσα γλυκειά και όμορφη, λυρική και ονειρική, έγραψε ένα σκληρότατο βιβλίο μεσούντος του Β'Παγκοσμίου. Επίσης η γλώσσα αυτή έχει μεταφραστει εξίσου λυρικά στα ελληνικά από τον Παναγιώτη Σκόνδρα. Πραγματικά χαίρομαι που το Μεταίχμιο πουλούσε τετοιο αριστούργημα 12 ευρώ! Η μονη συμβουλή που έχω να δώσω είναι προς τους μη γαλλομαθείς οι οποίοι θα παιδευτούν και θα χάσουν ίσως την ροή του κειμένου καθώς οι περισσότεροι διάλογοι είνα ...more
Toby Newton
Jul 26, 2014 Toby Newton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kaputt is a genuinely disturbing read - beautifully, poetically written for the most part, though with odd moments of curious repetition and longer moments of arid name dropping, the style jars so thoroughly with the material that it becomes increasingly hard to orientate yourself as a reader. Which, for many reasons, I presume, is the point - Malaparte somewhat sadistically goads and provokes us through his journey into the heart of Nazi cruelty and decadence in WW2. He's evidently self-serving ...more
Geoff
Oct 29, 2011 Geoff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fully-reviewed
Although very well written with very evocative descriptions, the book has an insincere dishonest tone that detaches the reader from many of the scenes - imagined or not - of the undoubted horror and brutality of war. There's a narcissistic arrogance about the author that makes you feel the book is as much about justifying him as it is about damning the folly of war. It's due to this that, despite the beautiful writing style and the interesting perspective (behind enemy lines) it offers, I cannot ...more
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NYRB Classics: Kaputt, by Curzio Malaparte 1 11 Oct 23, 2013 02:45PM  
  • The Gallery
  • Diary of a Man in Despair
  • An Ermine in Czernopol
  • The Road: Stories, Journalism, and Essays
  • The Wine-Dark Sea
  • White Walls: Collected Stories
  • The Stalin Front: A Novel of World War II
  • That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana
  • Boredom
  • Novels in Three Lines
  • Defeat: Napoleon's Russian Campaign
  • Memoirs of a Revolutionary
  • The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad
  • The Deep Zoo
  • Amsterdam Stories
  • Memoirs of Hecate County
  • The Selected Works
  • Adventures of Sindbad
80083
Born Kurt Erich Suckert, he was an Italian journalist, dramatist, short-story writer, novelist and diplomat.

Born in Prato, Tuscany, he was a son of a German father and his Lombard wife, the former Evelina Perelli. He studied in Rome and then, in 1918, he started his career as a journalist. He fought in World War I, and later, in 1922, he took part in the March on Rome.
He later saw he was wrong su
...more
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“May the new era be an era of liberty and respect for everyone--including writers! Only through liberty and respect for culture can Europe be saved from the cruel days of which Montesquieu spoke in the Esprit des lois: "Thus, in the days of fables, after the floods and deluges, there came forth from the soil armed men who exterminated each other." Boook XXXII, Chapter XXIII.” 0 likes
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