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De kolibrie

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  4,871 ratings  ·  632 reviews
Al sinds zijn jeugd wordt Marco Carrera, die als kind een groeistoornis had, de kolibrie genoemd, naar een van de kleinste vogels ter wereld. Maar in zekere zin is Marco ook echt een kolibrie: hij lijdt een dramatisch bestaan, vol vreugdes, liefdes en de nodige pijn, maar hij blijft in evenwicht. Zijn hectische bewegingen stellen hem in staat de existentiële acrobatiek van ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Prometheus (first published October 2019)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  4,871 ratings  ·  632 reviews

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Eric Anderson
Jul 07, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a new novel is accompanied by so much advance praise it seems like a sure winner. So it can feel disconcerting to discover that after actually reading the book it hasn't worked for me. Jhumpa Lahiri states that Sandro Veronesi (winner of multiple literary prizes in his native Italy) is “long considered one of Italy's leading writers” and that “his latest novel 'The Hummingbird'... has already been hailed as a classic.” High praise for this book also comes from Ian McEwan, Howard Jacobs ...more
By now I have read 5 books by Veronesi, and my impression is almost always the same: the man can absolutely write, and at times offers literary fireworks (often very strong opening scenes); he also nicely incorporates philosophical or existential issues in his novels, which are experienced by his main characters in a very introspective way. All of this is captivating, but you are always left with the feeling that something is missing, that the stories keep rippling on the surface a bit too much ...more
Jun 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marco Carrera, the protagonist of award-winning Italian author Sandro Veronesi's new family saga novel, is the hummingbird. His is a life of continuous suspensions but also of fatal coincidences, atrocious losses and absolute loves. He never falls to the bottom: his is an incessant movement to remain still, steadfast, and when this is not possible, to find the stopping point of the fall - so that surviving does not mean living less. Around him, Veronesi builds other unforgettable characters, who ...more
Ruben Vermeeren

Veronesi is one of my favourite Italian authors and this is, I think, his fifth book I read. Caos calmo and La forza del passato are absolute favourites. He writes beautifully and also il Colibri reads extremely easily, is full with beautiful sentences and spot-on metaphors.

Still, as a novel, the book does not convince. I kept wondering whether Veronesi had an idea about what he actually wanted to say. There are a lot of little lectures and there is a lot of action in Il colibri: there are s
Jun 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The hummingbird of the title (Il Colibrì in the original Italian) is the novel’s protagonist, Marco Carrera. His nickname is given by his mother, due to a physical condition which keeps him considerably smaller and shorter than average for his age-group. After an experimental treatment during his adolescence, Marco grows quickly and settles down to a more “normal” life, albeit one marked by several challenges and tragedies. Throughout, Marco, like the bird to which he is compared, shows a marked ...more
Jun 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A month ago I was completely unaware that Florence was flooded in 1966, and that ‘mud angels’ worked tirelessly to rescue important works of art and literature. Completely unintentionally, this is the second novel I’ve read this month that is not only set in Florence but also references that event ( the first being Still Life by Sarah Winman). I do wonder if my books are telling me something! Maybe a little post COVID trip?

This is a highly original novel that tells the story of the life of Marco
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, italiani
Philippe Franco
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Overall a disappointing book. The continuous hopping back and forth in time and the non-stop drama never fully caught me. The lack of strong personality of the main character did not help intriguing. I persisted reading because of all praise the book received but personally in the end I'm not impressed and therefore rather surpised by all the positive press it has been attributed. Sometimes I really had to chew too long on neverending sentences in the Dutch translation. ...more
Mairead Hearne (
The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson June 24th and wonderfully translated by Elena Pala. Originally published in Italy in 2019, The Hummingbird won the Premio Strega, the Italian equivalent of the Booker Prize making Sandro Veronesi only the second author in its seventy-three year history to have won the award twice. The Hummingbird is the first book-length translation for Elena Pala, a commercial and literary translator from Italian and French.

The Hummingbir
The Book Club
Marco, since his childhood has been called the hummingbird, due to the growth disorder he has suffered as a boy.
But that’s not the only reason, as Luisa says in one of her letters:

“You really are a hummingbird and not because you were so little. You are a hummingbird because all your energy is spent keeping still. Seventy wing beats per second only to remain where you are. And you truly are formidable at this. You can keep still as time flows around you, you can stop it flowing, sometimes you ca
Aug 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ‘colibrì’ is a humming-bird and this theme reverberates throughout the novel. Not only is the narrator himself known by that nickname, owing to his small size for his age as a boy, but the structure of the book resembles the quick, hovering flight of a humming-bird, moving swiftly backwards and forwards from one event to another. This is a recipe for some confusion in the early stages as one flits from the late 1990s to the seventies, then the sixties, then forward to 2008 but one gradually ...more
Italo  Perazzoli
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished to read this book read by Fabrizio Gifuni comfortably seated on my armchair and warmed by the fireplace and by my kitten during this cold evenings of December.

The incipit is very interesting, who won on the inevitable drowsiness, where I known the main character, Marco Carrera, an ophthalmologist, and Marco Carradori, the psychoanalyst, and Marco's wife, asking him questions who aren't impossible to avoid, because they have trapped the Marco's ego.

Through the dialogues, I discove
Jul 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hummingbird (Weidenfeld & Nicholson) by Sandro Veronesi had a wonderful review in The Guardian recently. In my ignorance I had not heard of this author who is the only writer to twice win the most coveted Italian literary prize, the Premio Strega. This book was described as ‘magnificent’, and a work produced by Italy’s best living (known?) novelist at the peak of his powers. As if this was not reason enough, thank you for the treat in the post, Orion! It’s a wonderful book that covers so man ...more
Jun 26, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just like the hummingbird, there's beauty in this novel, but the constant movement between periods (the timeline is just crazy, luckily it doesn't matter that much if you keep track of it or not) and subjects works against the development of strong feelings for our protagonist. And that's counterproductive as The Hummingbird is the story of Mario's life, with its ups and downs but mostly downs; and his incredible capacity to step in when everything is falling apart around him, and to get up afte ...more
Pow Wow
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I taught myself Italian and this is the first novel I completed in the language so I’ve certainly missed some things. It’s mostly an engaging read, the temporal structure, the changes between epistolary parts and omniscient narration, the short chapters all keep the reader curious and on his or her toes. There’s some great characters (a friend of the main protagonist whose presence portends bad luck, for example) and there’s beautiful passages, Veronesi knows how to write. However, the author se ...more
It is an interesting book. It follows the lilfe of the main character, who has been called Colibri' when he was a kid, because of his little height.
At the end this name turns out to be very adapted to his way of facing life.
This interpretation gives a philosophical side to the whole book.
Interesting the atemporal development: we jump from the 80s to the 2000 something to today continuously, going back and forth btween two levels of past and the actual present. It is a bit bewildering and difficu
Jul 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
It takes a while to get used to this as you navigate through a mixture of letters, emails, conversations... over the years which are also not chronological. However, it is well worth it. Intelligent, well crafted fiction. An ophthalmologist has a life of mixed fortunes and as you piece together the patchwork you think about how you would react to events and your responses to life, loves, disappointments, betrayals, reconciliation etc.
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
4,5 rounded down. I was pleasantly surprised by this book I picked up from my Dad’s bookshelf. Based on the blurb I expected a tale of melancholy and woe, but instead found a rather (and oddly) hopeful story of a man whose life was filled with plenty of tragedies, but not defined by it. Or maybe it IS defined by it, just not solely negatively?
Emma Hardy
Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by far one of the most beautiful books ever written.
I love the experimental styles of letters, messages, calls, direct narration, its so clever.
The plot felt real, raw, relatable.
It covers a huge time period and you feel like you know the characters so well.
Its complexity, yet simplicity is sublime and outstanding. Absolutely breathtaking.
Jul 25, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 - 4, more in some parts, less in others, I was often unsure whether I liked or loved this book so uneven was it. Reminding me of Ginzburg’s ‘Happiness, As Such’ at times but more playful and less somber. More like A Life, As Such and although the novel is ultimately mainly triumphant it’s also melancholic and somehow inconclusive.
David Galvani
Jul 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hummingbird in translation.
Beautiful prose like The Leopard.
Non-linear timeline which I thought was going to build into a magnificent early John Irving-style plot but went sideways instead. Still a good read but thought it was going to be a great read.
Lindsay Debeaussaert
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romans
Must read. Exceptional
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lots of shifting in the time line makes this book more interesting to read. Great use of words and structure.
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: relationship
Forced philosophical.. New Man plot reads like Murakami
Francesco Labbate
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the unusual structure of this book and the story it tells make you wanna read it chapter after chapter.
Yael Krizzuk
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Depressingly good!
A deep and meaningful novel, unless for the irrational and delirious portrait of the Japanese ‘new man’.
Ray Andrew
Somewhat disjointed, overly serious novel. About a man who is just holding on as a hummingbird (un colibri) in mid-air. But an energetic hummingbird is he not.
Elena Russo Delmonte
weird book. i liked it
Jun 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Book that jumps between different moments in the life of Marco who basically has a shitty life. It felt very real, very raw and very compassionate.
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Sandro Veronesi, born in Florence, Tuscany in 1959, is an Italian novelist, essayist, and journalist. After earning a degree in architecture at the University of Florence, he opted for a writing career in his mid to late twenties. Veronesi published his first book at the age of 25, a collection of poetry (Il resto del cielo, 1984) that has remained his only venture into verse writing. What has fol ...more

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“Dovrebbe essere noto – e invece non lo è – che il destino dei rapporti tra le persone viene deciso all’inizio, una volta per tutte, sempre, e che per sapere in anticipo come andranno a finire le cose basta guardare come sono cominciate. In effetti, quando un rapporto nasce c’è sempre un momento di illuminazione nel quale si riesce anche a vederlo crescere, distendersi nel tempo, diventare ciò che diventerà e finire come finirà – tutto insieme. Si vede bene perché in realtà è già tutto contenuto nell’inizio, come la forma di ogni cosa è contenuta nel suo primo manifestarsi. Ma si tratta di un momento, per l’appunto, e poi quella visione ispirata svanisce, o viene rimossa, ed è solo per questo che le storie tra le persone producono sorprese, danni, piacere o dolore imprevisto. Lo sapevamo, per un lucido, breve momento l’avevamo saputo, all’inizio, ma poi, per il resto della nostra vita, non l’abbiamo saputo più. Come quando ci si alza dal letto, di notte, e ci si ritrova a brancolare nel buio della nostra stanza per andare in bagno, e ci sentiamo smarriti, e accendiamo la luce per mezzo secondo, e poi la rispegniamo subito, e quel lampo ci mostra la strada, ma solo per il tempo necessario ad andare a fare la nostra pisciatina e ritornare a letto. La prossima volta saremo di nuovo smarriti.” 1 likes
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