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It's Getting Later All the Time (New Directions Paperbook) Paperback – 28 Dec 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing; Tra edition (28 Dec. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811215466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811215466
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 0.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

An epistolary tale told through a series of seventeen letters by men describes their affairs and desperate entreaties for replies that may never come, in a work that culminates in a single, eighteenth letter by a distant, implacable woman who sympathetically answers their pleas. Original.

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I know you deal with the past: that's your job. Read the first page
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 July 2006
Format: Paperback
Lovers of experimental literary fiction will celebrate this newly translated novel by "the most respected name in Italian fiction of the past twenty years." Antonio Tabucchi, winner of numerous European prizes and translated into eighteen languages, stretches the limits of narrative as he traces his characters' searches for meaning, especially through their relationships with other people. Episodes from his own life provide inspiration and narrative context for those timely moments which reveal his characters' emotional crises.

Seventeen different men write letters to the women who have dominated their lives, and as each man reminisces about his life and love, he reveals the circumstances of the inevitable breakup and how the broken relationship has haunted him for years ever after. The eighteenth letter is written by a woman, a grand finale addressed to the men severally, which offers advice and puts their experiences into a wider context.

The speakers live throughout Europe--on a Greek island, along a river in Italy, and in Paris (with a side trip to Brazil), and one speaker has "not made" a journey to Samarkand (Uzbekistan). They include a theatre director, a dying man, an architect, a faculty member, a Jewish harpist who escaped the war, a character actor, a composer, and a widower with two children. Each wrestles with a love story from the past and its continuing effect on his present.

Impressionistic and poetic, this novel is not a narrative in the traditional sense. Abstract ideas and images, sometimes dream-like and sometimes nightmarish, reveal life's suffering. More a series of memoirs or first-person stories than a novel, the book examines our differing concepts of time and our different reactions to the past at various points in our lives.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
"Speaking, and especially writing, are always ways of coming to terms with the lack of meaning in life." 1 July 2006
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lovers of experimental literary fiction will celebrate this newly translated novel by "the most respected name in Italian fiction of the past twenty years." Antonio Tabucchi, winner of numerous European prizes and translated into eighteen languages, stretches the limits of narrative as he traces his characters' searches for meaning, especially through their relationships with other people. Episodes from his own life provide inspiration and narrative context for those timely moments which reveal his characters' emotional crises.

Seventeen different men write letters to the women who have dominated their lives, and as each man reminisces about his life and love, he reveals the circumstances of the inevitable breakup and how the broken relationship has haunted him for years ever after. The eighteenth letter is written by a woman, a grand finale addressed to the men severally, which offers advice and puts their experiences into a wider context.

The speakers live throughout Europe--on a Greek island, along a river in Italy, and in Paris (with a side trip to Brazil), and one speaker has "not made" a journey to Samarkand (Uzbekistan). They include a theatre director, a dying man, an architect, a faculty member, a Jewish harpist who escaped the war, a character actor, a composer, and a widower with two children. Each wrestles with a love story from the past and its continuing effect on his present.

Impressionistic and poetic, this novel is not a narrative in the traditional sense. Abstract ideas and images, sometimes dream-like and sometimes nightmarish, reveal life's suffering. More a series of memoirs or first-person stories than a novel, the book examines our differing concepts of time and our different reactions to the past at various points in our lives. Most of the speakers are involved in creative arts, and the novel also celebrates their creativity and the uniqueness of their individual creations. Sometimes humorous, especially in the episode involving a 1980's interpretation of Hamlet, the novel is also self-conscious and philosophical. Free form prose takes the reader into a world of circular stories and repeating motifs.

European in its literary focus, this novel considers serious questions of identity, and it does not hesitate to flout literary convention to accomplish the emotional effects for which the author obviously strives. Providing a detailed Postscript, in which he explains the events from his own life which inspired the episodes in this book, the author also provides an intimate view of the creation and development of this work of literary fiction. An experimental "novel" for which a star rating is not appropriate. n Mary Whipple
Not Tabucchi's Most Compelling Work 15 Sept. 2011
By Doug Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a longtime fan of Tabucchi's I eagerly ordered this book but ultimately found it less satisfying than many of his earlier efforts. To me the short story and the novella are really Tabucchi's fortes.

Tabucchi is interested in the ways we search for our identities through narrative (or in encounters with various others who provide us with some kind of mirror) but his pet theme does not seem to be especially well served by the epistolary format. There is simply not enough (or any) differentiation between the various authors of these individual letters and after about the fourth letter one begins to feel a sense of repetitiveness/redundancy (all the letters seemingly coming from the same mind with the same obsessive interest in catching a glimpse of the self and all inevitably losing momentum after an initial intellectual or emotional burst of energy).

Individual passages are more impressive than the overall book. Though this doesn't reach the same literary heights as some of Tabucchi's other books, this still might be Tabucchi's most quotable book simply because of the sheer number of passages wherein the author (through the persona of various characters) directly discusses writing itself. Though I underlined many of these passages and value them greatly, the individual letters and their undifferentiated fictional authors fade from thought almost immediately after reading. It's the meditations on writing as preserver and creator of memory and meaning that linger.

Will appeal to readers who like writing about writing. Each letter has at least one passage, like the following two examples, wherein the author interrogates the writing process itself:

"They are stories without any logic, first of all. Between you and me, I'd really like to find the man who invented logic and give him a piece of my mind. And there are also stories without rhyme, where one thing doesn't fit in with another thing, one piece of the story doesn't connect with another piece of the story, and it all comes out like that, like life, which doesn't comply with rhyme, and each life has its own accent, different from the next person's accent. Probably there are some internal rhymes, but who can guess those?"

"As the philosopher I was telling you about says, memory calls up lived experience, it is precise, exact, implacable but it produces nothing new: that is its limitation. The imagination, however, cannot call up anything, because it cannot remember, and that is its limitation: but by way of compensation, it produces the new, something that wasn't there before, that has never been there. This is why I have fallen back on these two faculties, memory and imagination, which can assist each other reciprocally..."
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