Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “صحراء التتار” as Want to Read:
صحراء التتار
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

صحراء التتار

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  18,601 ratings  ·  1,481 reviews
Often likened to Kafka's The Castle, The Tartar Steppe is both a scathing critique of military life and a meditation on the human thirst for glory. It tells of young Giovanni Drogo, who is posted to a distant fort overlooking the vast Tartar steppe. Although not intending to stay, Giovanni suddenly finds that years have passed, as, almost without his noticing, he has come ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published 2002 by دار حوران للطباعة والنشر (first published 1940)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about صحراء التتار, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Alex You can borrow an ebook copy of this book on Open Library.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,601 ratings  ·  1,481 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of صحراء التتار
Steven Godin
"Time has slipped by so quickly,
that his heart has not had a chance to grow old"

While Dino Buzzati was putting the finishing touches to his 1938 novel, the world outside began a slow and oblivious path, looming towards a war that shook the very foundations of mother Earth. Is it possible Buzzati knew what lied ahead?, as his story here revolves around anticipating war, waiting, watching, fearful of what may appear over the horizon.
"The Tartar Steppe is both a scathing critique of military life p
Vit Babenco
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Tartar Steppe is about waiting. It is a tale of the wasted life and a parable of time lost.
Youth is full of hopes and expectations…
Of course with the others, with his colleagues, he had to be a man, had to laugh with them and tell swashbuckling stories about women and the soldier’s life. But to whom could he tell the truth if not to his mother? And that evening the truth as Drogo saw it was not what you would have expected from a good soldier – probably it was unworthy of the austere Fort, a
A powerful novel, The Tartar Steppe’s writing and context made an impression on me from the start. I read it many years back, and now as I revisited it all came back. It's about looking for the meanings of life, and much more. The Italian Dino Buzzati immerses the reader in a story of hope and how cruelly such feeling can be wasted leading to disappointment. It's the story of a young officer dispatched to serve on a remote fort overlooking the desert. It's about waiting for the enemy at the fron ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoyed waiting for Godot, the stranger, the castle, or even the death of Ivan Ilych
Wake me up when September ends...

One September morning Giovanni starts the journey of his professional life, "the beginning of his real-life". Recalling his dull days at Military academy, left him wondering if his best youth years were over. This may sound like he has learned his lesson. HELL NO, he didn't. Did I? Did you? Did anyone of us learn our lesson? We keep waiting for that miracle for that hero for that very moment, yet deep down we know it is an illusion and will never show up, and we
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, italy, 1001
The most haunting metaphor of life and death that I've ever read. It is an incredible book but it leaves you spent, desolated at the end of it, like the tartar steppe. ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of those classic books that sat on my TBR list for many years. I’ve heard that Dino Buzzatti originally called his book “The Fort”. I think the revised title was a big improvement. I don’t know how it sounds in the original Italian, but in English the phrase “The Tartar Steppe” conjures up mysterious and romantic images that would have helped the book to stand out. Incidentally the author doesn’t attempt to anchor this story in any sort of geopolitical reality, but that’s not a criticism on ...more
Sidharth Vardhan

"Meanwhile time was slipping past, beating life out silently and with ever increasing speed; there is no time to halt even for a second, not even for a glance behind. "Stop, stop," one feels like crying, but then one sees it is useless. Everything goes by-men, the seasons, the clouds, and there is no use clinging to the stones, no use fighting it out on some rock in mid- stream; the tired fingers open, the arms fall back inertly and you are still dragged into the river, the river which seems
Eddie Watkins
Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian-fiction
The metaphor this book is steeped in - that life lures us on with promises of authentic experiences and moments of transcendence, or even just knock-out apprehensions of reality, but rarely if ever delivers, like an imagined thread followed into potential glory only to peter out at death - became more and more heavy-handed as this novel petered out toward its own end and the empty death of its protagonist.

But perhaps that was the intention? giving the reader his/herself the very experience of t
Great read. The dreamy soldier Drogo is sent to the outback fort of Bastiani, at the edge of the desert, behind which the dreaded Tartars live. Drogo comes under the spell of the old fort and its archaic life, and ultimately remains there for decades. His whole life is completely in the service of the possible attack of the Tartars, and sometimes the tension rises when movement is detected in the desert, although this usually turns out to be mirages. In the end he misses his moment of glory, but ...more
Paul Bryant
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The first posting for the newly qualified junior officer Giovanni Drogo is a distant border fortress, Fort Bastiani, a kind of military Gormenghast with vast corridors, distant redoubts and an ancient regime of mindless inflexible ritual. It guards the kingdom against the enemy to the north. The forlorn wilderness overlooked by the fortress is called the Tartar Steppe. Where was that ? This was Tartary

but the name had been discarded by the 19th century. So this is not a historical novel.

Our unh
Maria Espadinha
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time is a Natural Killer

Do you remember how Vladimir and Estragon used to wait for Godot in Samuel Becket’s play?
Every single day, they would go to the very same place to talk about all sorts of absurdities, whilst waiting for a guy they didn’t know if... nor when... he was even coming — Godot!...

What does it have to do with this book?

Everything and nothing!

Everything, cos it’s the same kind of story:
In here we’ll watch lieutenant Drogo, every day grounded to a fortress in the Tartars Desert, wa
Lee Klein
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure if it's lame/lazy shorthand to associate a novel with other novels since novels, like I presume all species of animals and plants, from monumental trees to psychoactive weeds, communicate among one another, that is, they talk -- and unlike simple human speech, they do so back and forth through time, which means that this one chats with Kafka's The Castle (Before the Law, too) at first, and then Mann's The Magic Mountain, all the while nodding at good old Godot and eyeing Coetzee's Waiti ...more
Superior novel about the banality of life and the cruelty of it to which death makes all an end. Loved reading it really so much; intriguing.
Arvind Radhakrishnan
Buzzati's novel is a sublime work.The prose is sophisticated,elegant and beautiful.It seems to have an inner music,a poetic melancholy that touches the reader.The novel's protagonist Giovanni Drogo is a young ambitious officer who sets off for his first posting.He is posted to Fort Bastiani,an ancient fortresses on the Italian frontier.The fort overlooks a vast steppe known as The Tartar Steppe,as it was believed that there had been a Tartar invasion long ago.The fort had once been very importan ...more
This novel is not one; it is a long and magnificent poem. Well, that's what I felt because Giovanni is universal, he's me, he's him, her, he's you (and anyone who wants him. Um, I'm going out). It embodies our desires, our regrets, our wanderings, the summary of a life that could be ours as we take a perverse pleasure in wasting. By an extensive range (for that the ideas are never lacking) - this precious time which crumbles and escapes like the sand of our vacation beach slips through our caref ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian
A fabulous little novel exploring Kafkaesque motifs. The voice of the protagonist very authentic. Reminds me of a quote from Coetzee: "Sleep is no longer a healing bath, a recuperation of vital forces, but an oblivion, a nightly brush with annihilation." ...more
Nancy Oakes
I loved this book. There will be readers who will turn up their noses simply because it was written in 1940, and that's a true shame, because as dark and bleak as it is, it is just plain beautiful.

full post here:

"...perhaps I might be some use if there was a war. Maybe I wouldn't. Perhaps in a war -- but otherwise no use at all..."

Perhaps ironically, perhaps not, the first page of this novel starts on the day that Lieutenant Giovanni Drogo has "looked for
Paul Fulcher
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
We think there are beings like ourselves around us and instead there is nothing but ice and stones speaking a strange language.

Translated by Stuart C. Hood from Dino Buzzati's Il deserto dei Tartari, published in 1940, I came to this fascinating novel via Javier Cercas's Lord of All the Dead, translated by Anne McLean
The Tartar Steppe is an extraordinary novel by Dino Buzatti. It is a slightly Kafkaesque fable in which a young lieutenant called Giovanni Drogo is posted to a remote fortress ... T
"One September morning, Giovanni Drogo, being newly commissioned, set out from the city for Fort Bastiani; it was his first posting."

Not only is this Drogo's first posting, but his last. The year fly by quickly: "One after the other, the pages turned--the grey pages of the day, the black pages of the night." Drogo is an Everyman figure. The whole novel, through his story and those of the Fort and men, is a meditation on life and death, hope, self-delusion, and glory. I recommend most highl
Ben Winch
The first time I read this I liked it a lot. I didn’t quite love it, but then I was at a period in my life where it would have been hard for me to love (or at least to notice whether I had loved) anything, so great was my absorption in my own distress. Yet in that context, The Tartar Steppe made an impression. It may even have benefited from that context, given that I, like its protagonist, was all but consumed by waiting. The dreamlike feel, the mountain setting, the debt to Kafka, the meditati ...more
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, italy
Once, I spent a summer working in a wine bottling factory in my hometown in Germany. My job was to stand next to a machine which filled plastic bags with cheap, mixed white wine, and a conveyor belt put these bags into boxes. Australians call these bags affectionately "goon bags". My task was to put the filled boxes on pallets.

I worked with a man about 30 years my senior - he had worked in that factory for more than 20 years, the last 10 years on that machine. With my 19 years, in a state that
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bleak and sparse book that reminded me of Kafka (especially The Castle)in terms of the feeling of pointlessness. It follows Giovanni Drogo who joins the army and goes to do a tour of duty at a remote fort at the age of 21. Here all the soldiers guard the northern frontier and their dearest wish is for something to happen, an attack to repulse. It never comes for Drogo. Intending to stay 4 months Drogo stays for the rest of his life, almost.
It is a parable about the way life is over before you
Juho Pohjalainen
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It takes a talented author to write a story where nothing whatsoever happens, yet the reader doesn't actually get bored and drop the book. Someone still might decide that they're looking for something more exciting and thrilling, but I didn't mind.

There's a great deal of buildup for something that - we're told - may never end up happening at all, and if you make it all the way to the end, then the unfairness of it all will probably hurt you as much as it hurts the main character. After all the s
The Tartar Steppe is on military service what The Castle is on bureaucracy: Both criticize how pointless and tedious the two often are, necessary up to a certain point but often exaggerated. ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017

(3.5) The experience of waiting for war, as manifested in the military career of one Giovanni Drogo, is a bleak and unfulfilling affair. Assigned as a young lieutenant to a vast decaying fort long stripped of its strategic relevancy, Drogo first balks at, then slowly succumbs to, the fort's mysterious magnetism and the regulatory structure that governs it. The meandering narrative drifts between dreamlike passages depicting Drogo's inner life and more workmanlike sections replicating the pedestr

 Up to then he had gone forward through the heedless season of early youth—along a road which to children seems infinite, where the years slip past slowly and with quiet pace so that no one notices them go. We walk along calmly, looking curiously around us; there is not the least need to hurry, no one pushes us on from behind and no one is waiting for us; our comrades, too, walk on thoughtlessly, and often stop to joke and play.

Having read, and keenly disliked the angst and pointlessness of Kafk
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Drogo starts his new duty as lieutenant in the one remote castle. At the beginning notwithstanding does not like to stay but later on, he gets use and more. He goes to addicted. Even once he decides to leave but suddenly he changes his mind. Actually, this time is one milestone for his life. For a while he tries to live in city again but could not he succeed. Days passes over as looking to the Tartar desert, in the long run life is going to ended. At the end of the book end of Drogo.

"A life pass
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Life sucks. Then you die.

I should have liked this more. This bleak book about going nowhere. Doing nothing. Plodding forwards endlessly while life is at an abeyance and your friends and peers and companions drift away, along with the days, and the memories, and what was worth...

The draw of glory. The dreams of youth. Smashed up against the walls of life, where time moves differently than desires. Where life moves differently than dreams. Where events move with no regard for us, for you, for me..
The book has a rather simple plot, but there’s such a strong allegory so beautifully emerging in this great piece of prose by Buzzati. There are a lot of people who are profoundly stuck in their somewhat miserable lives, waiting for that "big one thing" to come. So did the main character, Giovanni Drogo, who was sent to the Fort Bastiani to accomplish his life mission, stop the enemy, and earn his military glory.

For younger people this novel might seem quite depressing, as well as for old peopl
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Late Mattia Pascal
  • Sostiene Pereira
  • The Moon and the Bonfire
  • Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno
  • Zeno's Conscience
  • Il visconte dimezzato
  • I Malavoglia
  • Fontamara
  • One, No One and One Hundred Thousand
  • L'isola di Arturo
  • The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
  • Il cavaliere inesistente
  • La casa in collina
  • The Speed of Light
  • The Baron in the Trees
  • Il giorno della civetta
  • La promessa - La panne
See similar books…
Dino Buzzati Traverso (1906 – 1972) è stato uno scrittore, giornalista, pittore, drammaturgo, librettista, scenografo, costumista e poeta italiano.

Dino Buzzati Traverso was an Italian novelist, short story writer, painter and poet, as well as a journalist for Corriere della Sera. His worldwide fame is mostly due to his novel Il deserto dei Tartari, translated into English as The Tartar Steppe.

News & Interviews

“I'm in a weird place because the book is about to come out. So I'm basically just walking around like a raw nerve and I'm not sure that I...
32 likes · 6 comments
“What a terrible mistake, thought Drogo, perhaps everything is like that — we think there are beings like ourselves around us and instead there is nothing but ice and stones speaking a strange language; we are on the point of greeting a friend but our arm falls inert, the smile dies away because we are completely alone.” 56 likes
“It was at this period that Drogo realised how far apart men are whatever their affection for each other, that if you suffer the pain is yours and yours alone, no one else can take upon himself the least part of it; that if you suffer it does not mean that others feel pain even though their love is great: hence the loneliness of life.” 49 likes
More quotes…