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The Twenty Days of Turin

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,005 ratings  ·  174 reviews
In the spare wing of a church-run sanatorium, some zealous youths create "the Library," a space where lonely citizens can read one another’s personal diaries and connect with like-minded souls in "dialogues across the ether." But when their scribblings devolve into the ugliest confessions of the macabre, the Library’s users learn too late that a malicious force has ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Liveright (first published 1977)
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Jack Tripper
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of the freakiest and most unsettling novels I've read in a while. Originally published in 1977 by a small Italian publisher and, though a cult classic in Italy, is only just now being released to English-speaking readers.

Turin (in the novel) has a history that its citizens would all like to forget. 10 years ago, the entire city was tormented by twenty sleepless nights, during which incredible, seemingly impossible nighttime murders took place. Throughout this time of widespread
...more
Luca Signorelli
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure here – I'm the person who originally referred this book to Ramon Glazov (the translator) suggesting he should try to have it published.

"The Twenty Days of Turin” is a novel about about fictional darkness, terror and moral confusion, written in a moment (1977) when the real Turin was beginning to live its most traumatic moment since the darkest days of the Nazi occupation (1943-1945), sliding into the grip of an escalation of real life daily political and common violence, in the
...more
Nancy Oakes
By the time I'd put this book down, I was actually shaking. Not so much for the horror elements here, but more because of the feeling that this book, while written in the late 1970s, has a certain timeliness about it that terrifies me, one that is more frightening than the contents of any horror novel.

Our guide through this book of strange events in the city of Turin both past and present is an unnamed man who has decided to write a book about the "Twenty Days of Turin

...neither a war nor a
...more
Zuky the BookBum
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars, 2017
This may seem like an unfair review but I can only give this 3 stars because I didn’t exactly understand it. I think that’s mainly because I’m a little slow to the mark sometimes and because I read this in a distracting environment, but this disappointed me and didn’t scare me like I hoped it would.

It was well written, especially since it’s a translation, but parts of it felt disjointed and I found it hard to follow the uncovering of the Library’s secrets and the cause of the disturbing and
...more
Sarah
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
First of all, can we talk about the cover? Go on, Google "Satan sement l'ivraie," by Felician Rops. I'll wait.

Are you back? What did you think?

I KNOW RIGHT?

Who cares if Satan is marching over Paris and not Turin? THIS IS A GOOD BOOK COVER. GOOD JOB, BOOK COVER DESIGNER WHOSE NAME I FAILED TO NOTE (WHICH ACTUALLY I THINK IS A CRIME BECAUSE BOOK COVERS ARE GREAT).

Moving on.

This edition comes with a lengthy introduction by the translator and one extra short story and an essay by De Maria, all of
...more
RB
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Giorgio De Maria wrote this in the late 70's, and now it is presented in English in a slim and pretty unsettling hardcover. The story concerns our unnamed protagonist who is compiling a book on an uncanny event that occurred ten years before. While researching this book, the horrors of the past, that he's studying, begin to manifest around him. He meets some weird blokes, one who has recorded strange sounds on the night, ten years ago, when many were murdered by tall lunatics using other humans ...more
Matt Shaqfan
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Curious, but occasionally disconnected. The town of Turin has a mysterious and horrific past. Lots of weird, strange, and sometimes disgusting tidbits unfold throughout the book, which is fine and interesting, but some of the puzzle pieces didn’t always seem to fit (the pen pal side-story for instance).

The book kept my attention well enough, and the horrors and clues were spaced out in a way that every time one dropped I had to keep reading to see what sort of answer it lead to.

Hard to say much
...more
DeAnna Knippling
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WOW.

Umberto Eco and Lovecraft had a baby...*

Ten years ago, the grand old museum town of Turin suffered a mysterious series of events stemming from mass insomnia, a public library filled with only the personal, anonymous musings of strangers, and a breakdown in certain areas of the goverment and that led to a horrific, city-wide slaughter. Now the narrator digs into the past, trying to find out what exactly happened back then.

It's bad. Literally worse than I imagined. Weird horror of the best
...more
Hil
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: challenge-2017
Sorry, no. I didn't get it. It wasn't for me. Parts of it were ok, but... No.
Bryan Alexander
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic, fantasy
A very strange and intriguing novel.

Giorgio De Maria's Twenty Days of Turin is a work of imagined history. Something terrible happened to that Italian city in the 1970s; decades later, our unnamed narrator tries to write a book about it.

I do want to place some thoughts behind spoilers, since part of the book's pleasure is in discovering what happened and how. For now I'll just say that each chapter offers a different slice of the mystery, usually involving meeting a new character and exploring
...more
Bogi Takács
Very cool, the SFF surprise of my year so far. Very timely (probably even more timely if you are Hungarian, but Americans should also find it timely), very prescient. I'd say it owes a lot to creepypasta, except it massively predates creepypasta. Many people have already said it presages the internet - I'd say especially the social web - and that's true, but those people might not know about CREEPYPASTA in particular. I didn't see that coming!

If you are interested in dark magical realist
...more
Ronald
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Twenty Days of Turin by Giorgio De Maria
Translator's Introduction by Ramon Glazov

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Type of book: Cosmic horror novel; weird novel
Similiar writers: H.P. Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti, T.E.D. Kline


_The Twenty Days of Turin_ was first published in Italy in 1977 and published in English in February 2017. This edition also contains a translator's introduction which is well worth reading too. After the novel are two unrelated short pieces: a short story about Lord Bryon which
...more
Adam  McPhee
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Adam by: Chapo
Shelves: eldritch, italy
Even those infamous contributions, those dialogues across the ether that were later purged by the Library, helped break that cycle of loneliness in which our citizens were confined. Or rather they helped to furnish the illusion of a relationship with the outside world: a dismal cop-out nourished and centralized by a scornful power bent only on keeping people in their state of continuous isolation. The inventors of the Library knew their trade well!

Foreboding and Lovecraftian.

Filing this
...more
Digitalice
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An odd and very compelling story if you are open to depressive hero manque a la Philip K. Dick. There's a lot here in terms of various genres, but it all works. The story took hold of me and never let me go. I felt that strange juvenile excitement of wanting to hurry home to return to it. The writing is crisp, intelligent and it shows more than it tells about the mystery at the heart of this book. I rarely finish novels today, let alone devour them in one or two sessions, but this book bit me ...more
Margaux Tatin Blanc
I had read this book when I was about twenty years old and it had created such a "folie a deux" with a pal who had loaned me the tex that we took a train to Turin that weekend to explore the places of the novel... I had read it in Italian and that might explain why the English version does not get me that excited about things... Maybe the translation is not as DREAMY as the sound of the Italian was... or maybe i am just not as impressionable... in any case this is still a very strong and bizarre ...more
jenni
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, europe, italy
Lmao idk
Kars
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, weird
Worse, rather than helping its users connect, the Library consumes their privacy in a “web of mutual espionage . . . malicious and futile.”

Replacing a chain of command, we have friendless deviants who prompt equally friendless imitators far away through a sort of perverse quantum entanglement; the atomized lead the atomized.

Those who are unmoving, those who are beyond suspicion—as far as they are inert and familiar—and yet soaked in blood from head to toe, have always found ideal living
...more
Drew
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A strange meditation on terror, like the terrorism kind but lensed through the strange and supernatural. Oddly prescient, or I guess not so much prescient as just evergreen, in its depictions of a world willing to share their stories and a shadowy awful cabal of smiling young men willing to stoke those fires and turn the world against itself. There are moments of true horror to be found here, but just as many eerie oddities -- a building where the stairs have been removed and tenants just toss ...more
Waffles
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Up until the last few chapters I was ready to give this 2.5 stars rounded up to 3 stars. I felt it was too slow and plodding for me at the beginning, but it builds up momentum.

There are parts reminded me of some of the more exotic Thomas Ligotti stories (e.g. The Strange Design of Master Rignollo ... ).

I could imagine Fellini or Bergman directing a script based on this work.

The ending reminded me that I need to reread Dino Buzzati.

If you are not used to reading literary horror where there is
...more
Cindy
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Intertwining the present and the past, Giorgio De Maria's cult novel of societal breakdown, The Twenty Days of Turin, appears in English for the first time, smartly translated by Australian writer Ramon Glazov. A nameless office worker is obsessed with events of a decade earlier, when a mysterious collective created a secret and ultimately dangerous library. Ominous messages and suspicious activity convince the narrator that the same forces are regrouping. "A business we believed was over and ...more
Peter K.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent slow burn sort of horror. De Maria gives you just enough to worry without ever ruining everything by tearing down the curtain. You're given just a little peak into a richly allegorical, highly symbolic world of despair.
Tom Breen
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author was a friend of Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco, and that gives you sort of an idea of what the novel is: it's weird, spooky, and erudite, capturing the unnamed narrator's efforts to piece together a baffling spate of violence in his native Turin in the mid-70s.

The book, written during Italy's "Years of Lead," the period from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when the country was repeatedly visited by political violence carried out by extremist sects of the left and right, revolves
...more
Elle Maruska
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this; atmospheric, amorphous horror DONE RIGHT. You're never given too much; every word is imbued with meaning and the most terrifying scenes are the ones you're made to imagine for yourself. The book has a lot to say about urban living, about history and identity and place--I'm really glad I found this strange and terrifying and wonderful little work.
Tony
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Did an obscure Italian author really predict social media in 1977?”

I was intrigued to buy “The Twenty Days of Turin” by Giorgio De Maria after an enticing preview by our friends over at the ‘This is Horror’ site. After then discovering an absolutely fascinating interview with the translator Ramon Glazov over at the ‘Weird Fiction Review’ I was sold – hook, line, and sinker.

I’ve been around weird fiction for more years that I can remember and I cannot ever remember hearing of “The Twenty Days
...more
Dawnelle Wilkie
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Creepy, delightful, and disturbing. Plus! Sinister nuns and early (1977, yes really!) warnings about the potential dangers of social media.
Jim Elkins
Jan 08, 2018 added it
Shelves: italian
An unusual tourist's guide to Turin

This is just a short note to register I've read this. It isn't the kind of book I usually read: even though it was written in the 1970s, it is in the line of H.P. Lovecraft: it conjures its terrors with set-pieces (a strange old woman's narration, a zealously guarded vault full of moldy papers, streets with inexplicable happenings, special radio recordings of incomprehensible voices, solitary witnesses to horrific events, and so forth). Readers are supposed to
...more
Robert Rich
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: f-dark
English translation of an Italian novel written in the late 1970s. It gained cult classic status in Italy for offering on-point commentary of the so-called "Days of Lead" in the country at the time, a period marked by constant terror attacks and a cropping fear throughout the country. One could argue that makes it relevant today as well, but it's really nothing more than an eerie, atmospheric thriller, full of strange happenings and witnesses who give mysterious comments to the narrator ...more
Greg
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
THE TWENTY DAYS OF TURIN evokes a creepy dystopic world that is also uncannily contemporary. People chronically overshare using a crude social media platform and terrorism prevails. Whether these two vices are directly linked in the novel or, indeed, in our world today remain unclear. The novel was intended as an allegory for the violence and fear that were prevalent in highly polarized Italian society during the 70’s, a time known as the “Years of Lead.”

De Maria evokes a “library” where people
...more
Carmilla Voiez
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Originally published in the 1970s and recently translated into English, Girogio de Maria’s short novel “The Twenty Days of Turin” is remarkable in the way it mirrors society in the twenty-first century. It is a dark read, straddling the line between horror and magical realism, that combines religion, isolation, paranoia and monsters both human and ones which might well have inspired the Weeping Angels of Doctor Who.

Within an abandoned wing of a former insane asylum, a library is established
...more
C
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Can you point to anything more permanent, anything harder to suspect, than those murderers?" Any fans of the weird literature should flock to this book. I'm definitely a fan! Collective psychosis and insomnia fall on the people of Turin, Italy possibly due to the paranoia revolving around a community Library of diaries (this sounds like a premonition of the internet and cellphones giving everyone paranoia and insomnia)... and then the book gets much weirder. Published in 1977 and newly ...more
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“In this city, demons lurk under the ashes.” 4 likes
“Small wonder, then, that an institution like the Library found space to take root. It was presented as a good cause, created in the hope of encouraging people to be more open with one another. Its creators were little more than boys: perky, smiling youngsters, well groomed and well dressed, without a trace of facial hair. They looked designed to win people's trust. And who wouldn't trust a cheerful, articulate young man who came calling at your door, inviting you to chat with him about this and that, about the meaning of life, about all the hunger and suffering in the world? It's true; it was whispered that dark forces acted behind them, national and international groups hungry for vengeance after certain recent defeats. But who could believe such things in front of polite young lads who always looked you in the eyes and shook your hand.” 1 likes
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