The Tartar Steppe Paperback – 1 Jan 1985
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"With obvious affinities to Kafka's The Castle, The Tartar Steppe is a serener and more immediately rewarding book." (The Times)
"It is not often that a masterpiece falls into one's hands. But The Tartar Steppe is undoubtedly a masterpiece, a sublime book and Buzzati a master of the written word." (John Keegan Sunday Times)
"A beautiful, masterly novel that shimmers like a mirage, bringing into sharp focus the rise and fall of our ambitions and the pitiless erosion of time. It is the story of one Giovanni Drogo - yet how many of us will be stricken to recognise something of ourselves in him?" (Yann Martel)
"The Tartar Steppe is a nightmare, a comedy of errors, a beautiful and anguished fable, a call to resistance against folly, the inspired assurance that one last act may justify our lifelong struggle to remain human." (Alberto Manguel)
"There are names that the coming generations will not resign themselves to forget. Surely one of them is that of Dino Buzzati." (Jose Luis Borges)
"A strange and haunting novel, an eccentric classic." (J.M. Coetzee)
"Sober and luminous." (Yann Martel) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
"It is not often that a masterpiece falls into one's hands. But The Tartar Steppe is undoubtedly a masterpiece, a sublime book and Buzzati a master of the written word."
John Keegan, Sunday Times
Written in 1938 as the world waited for war, and internationally acclaimed since its publication, The Tartar Steppe is a provocative and frightening tale of hope, longing and the terrible sorcery of dreams and desires.
'A beautiful, masterly novel that shimmers like a mirage, bringing into sharp focus the rise and fall of our ambitions and the pitiless erosion of time. It is the story of one Giovanni Drogo - yet how many of us will be stricken to recognise something of ourselves in him?' Yann Martel
'The Tartar Steppe is a nightmare, a comedy of errors, a beautiful and anguished fable, a call to resistance against folly, the inspired assurance that one last act may justify our lifelong struggle to remain human.' Alberto Manguel
'There are names that the coming generations will not resign themselves to forget. Surely one of them is that of Dino Buzzati.' Jose Luis Borges
Cover design by Tim Byrne
Cover image (c) Adam Woolfitt/CORBIS
ISBN 978 1 84195
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Top Customer Reviews
Nothing happens, every day is groundhog day, the world is bare and featureless, but it is saturated with latent, ill-defined significance; a significance of which we the reader have a presentiment - a complex presentiment.
Initially, our main character and we the readers, find the fort simply cold, uncomfortable and unwelcoming. But the rituals, the endless staring, into nothingness, and the waiting must be for something; something that our endlessly straining senses have only a presentiment but which gives meaning to our existence, or would give meaning if only this something would materialise for us. We produce nothing, our relationships are strictly governed by and frozen within the strict, military protocols of the fort - there is no development, save that of the slow, insidious physical aging and decay of our bodies.
And, eventually, our main character, and some of us, are overwhelmed by this presentiment and it becomes our life's mainspring - something that ritual and organisation gave rise to takes on a life of its own and, for our main character something that he is prepared to die for.
For those interested in seeing Malevich's painting, it is on the cover of the Harvill paperback edition of Platonov's novel - `Soul'. This book is indeed about the steppe; the central asian steppe. But it is very different from Buzzati's book.
Waiting, waiting and waiting....... till you are almost about to give up the book out of sheer boredom, but you still read on hoping for something substantial to happen, but finally end it feeling totally dispirited. And then the book haunts you for a long time .... and that is where I feel the marvel of this book is.
In a world full of books that make you feel good by talking about achievement, success, greatness, and glory here is one book that quite beautifully takes you into a completely different direction and its also not really about a grief stricken tragedy or dramatic anticlimax. This book is really about Vanity. The book really leaves you with a deep haunting feeling about life's futility.
A friend recommended this book and my first feeling was... what crap !! But this is a real masterpiece and I really would recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is thoughtful rather than "in your face". Why do soldiers stay at the fort? Are they happy to progress in the army without having to fight.... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Stephen Bamford
This book lived up to the recommendation of the person who suggested I give it. Thank you for handling my purchase.Published on 20 Jun. 2014 by S. Jones
Bizzare and gloomy. I kept looking for the 'punch line'. Maybe that's what life is - a story with no punch-line. Not my Glass of Tea.Published on 8 Jan. 2014 by Brian P Woods
I bought this book because I read in the paper that Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi, loved it. I had never heard of Dino Buzzatti. Read morePublished on 11 Sept. 2013 by paul caven
Intensely moving- closest L can think of is Bunyan.For anyone who has ever been trampled upon, this book will be a true companion in pain.Published on 4 Jun. 2013 by Smith
This is one of the best books I've read in the last 12 months. Others here have told the story, but it gives no idea of the strangeness of the novel, which grabbed me and kept me... Read morePublished on 18 Jan. 2013 by Ransen Owen
I bought this excited to read something that sounded so full of ennui and existential forlorness. But the book ended up just being boring, dragging on without apparent reason and... Read morePublished on 17 Aug. 2012 by Maughold
The Tartar Steppe is a curious novel. If you examine the basic premise of the storyline it would appear that not a lot happens. Read morePublished on 9 Mar. 2012 by N. A. Spencer
This novel tells a relatively simple story: Giovanni Drogo wastes his life in an isolated frontier fort, waiting for a chance to fight off an enemy attack. Read morePublished on 16 July 2011 by Cat