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“How many works, how many people are there in just one person?” Ernesto Ferrero dedicates these enthralling pages to his “favorite”, Calvino. On the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Italo Calvino, Ernesto Ferrero draws an unusual portrait of the great author, captured behind the scenes and in his lesser-known character traits. And he does so with that unique voice for recounting the past which has already enchanted us with I migliori anni della nostra vita, Amarcord bianconero, and the recent and affectionate Album di famiglia.His relationship with his parents and his brother Floriano, the partisan war, post-war uncertainty, friendships, loves, including the delicate chapter of his relationship with Elsa De Giorgi. Plus, his intense, daily literary output: his commitment at Einaudi, then at the Turin newsroom of l’Unità, then back to Einaudi. His crucial trip to America, the trauma of 1956 and his progressive detachment from the Italian Communist Party and militant politics, all the way to his hermit-like sojourns in Pars, Rome, and Roccamare. There, in the Tuscan seaside town that was his ideal refuge, in September 1985 he suffered the stroke that ended his life in Siena. The thread that winds throughout Italo Calvino’s biography is closely interwoven with his opus and illuminates from within its genesis and developments, its hallmark experimentation and planning. With a writing style that aims for a fusion between biographical “novel” and a highly narrative critical essay, in this thrilling book Ernesto Ferrero once again addresses, with affection and confidence, that exceptional writer, Italo Calvino.


Ernesto Ferrero has worked in publishing since 1963. His books include the novels N. (2000 Strega Prize), L’anno dell’Indiano (2001), Disegnare il vento (2011 Campiello Prize), Storia di Quirina, di una talpa e di un orto di montagna, Barbablú. Gilles de Rais e il tramonto del Medioevo and the nonfiction Primo Levi. La vita, le opere. He also published Francesco e il Sultano, Napoleone in venti parole, and in 2022 Album di famiglia. Maestri del Novecento ritratti dal vivo.

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