Read in 2006 as one of three novellas included within 'Parlamenti Buffi' ('Funny Parliaments'). 'Lunario del Paradiso' popped up just at the right tim...moreRead in 2006 as one of three novellas included within 'Parlamenti Buffi' ('Funny Parliaments'). 'Lunario del Paradiso' popped up just at the right time inbetween my first experience living abroad (in Norway) and the year I spent in the Netherlands. At that time I borrowed the book from a friend of mine and looked to get my own copy ever since.
Unfortunately - and mysteriously - all editions of 'Lunario del Paradiso' have been out of print for around 15 years. Maremagnum, Abebooks, Bookdepository and even Ebay never helped. Not to mention all the second hand bookstalls, fairs and car boot sales I've been to.
Then I sent an email to an Italian radio programme specialized in bookhunting and booksharing on the excellent Radio3 (which I find much superior to BBC Radio3 culture wise). In two weeks time (today) I was contacted by the programme and told that they found someone who's eager to send me 'Lunario del Paradiso'. Hurrah!
In one hour time - and on air - I will know who this benefactor is and how come he/she chose to say goodbye to this wonderful wonderful novel narrating the disillusioned romantic adventures of an Italian twentysomething going to Hamburg in the late 1950s. An update will follow in due time.
UPDATE So it looks like there was a misunderstanding so that I will have to untag 'A-my-Italian-library' from this book here for the time being. For 'Lunario del Paradiso' has not yet been found, but I had to explain on air the reasons why I have been searching it. Nevermind (but blimey). I just hope my plea will be successful!(less)
This is the sort of book about China which gets dust and damp on the Italian second hand bookstalls. And it's such a pity as Goffredo Parise was an ex...moreThis is the sort of book about China which gets dust and damp on the Italian second hand bookstalls. And it's such a pity as Goffredo Parise was an excellent although semi-forgotten journalist with wondeful writing skills.
Parise visited China in the 1960s only for a few days, but was able to get more about this huge and elusive country in those ideologically driven days than great Italian foreign correspondents of the recent past (Ostellino, Biagi).
The book is concise but organized very well, pointing out a range of topics Parise managed to investigate on rather than trying to put them in the chronological frame of his visiting trip. Chinese medicine, theatre and night life, factory work and salaries, psychology and Chinese catholicism, life in the countryside, women condition under socialism, history and politics this is a selection of what the author writes about here and always in a convincing way.
Parise visited (or rather was brought to) Bejing and Shanghai, Nanking and Hong Kong, stressing out the kindness, elegance and style of the Chinese people he met, but also expressing his own skepticism for the miracles of socialism he was told and his own distaste for the party hierarchies. This is a honest, fair and open minded account of China which was a pleasure to read.
Ah, what this book could have been with some decent editing! It's really a pain in the eyes seeing how the Longanesi guys treated "Cara Cina" back in 1968. The Chinese currency "yuan" was translated into "yen" (I hope no one at the Chinese Communist Party noticed this horrible Japanification), while the "Yin and Yang" became the "Inn and Yang". No better treatment was reserved to the "Big Ben" in London which is here miswritten "Big Bell". Poor Goffredo Parise! He definitely deserves a new mispelling-free edition of this forgotten gem.(less)