Fabio Stassi was born in Rome in 1962. He is a librarian at La Sapienza University. He has published for Minimum fax È finito il nostro carnevale (2007), La rivincita di Capablanca (2008), Il libro dei personaggi letterari. From the postwar period to today (2015) and With the taste of the world in your mouth (2018). For Sellerio publishing house: L’ultimo ballo di Charlot (2012), Come un respiro interrotto (2014), Fumisteria (2015), La lettrice scomparsa (2016), Angelica e le comete (2017), Ogni coincidenza ha un’anima (2018), Uccido chi voglio (2020) and Mastro Geppetto (2021). He has also written children’s books and edited, in addition, the Italian edition of Heal With Books. Literary Remedies for Every Sickness (Sellerio, 2013 and 2016) and of Growing Up with Books. Literary Remedies to Keep Children Healthy, Wise and Happy (Sellerio, 2017) by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin. His latest work is Notturno francese, published in 2023 also with Sellerio.
He has won numerous awards, including the Campiello Selection, the Alassio, the Vittorini Opera Prima, the Sciascia, the Scerbanenco, the Arpino and, in 2022, with the novel “Mastro Geppetto,” the Stresa Prize for Fiction and the Dessì Prize.
A novel where the melancholy of constantly leaving behind things and people, in time and space, dominates. But also the thoughtlessness of setting out to find them. Or to be found.
Vince Corso, bibliotherapist and literary puzzle detective, on the train that is supposed to take him to a date with his fiancée runs into an original traveling companion: an educated, insinuating man who physically reminds him of the great Léo Ferré, the anarchic chansonnier of Avec le temps. Only Corso has taken the wrong direction-he was supposed to go south instead of north-and contrite he would like to ripa-rare. But the man, mysteriously allusive, urges him to persist in the mistake: “perhaps you don’t know it yet, but it may be time to make this journey.” Genoa, the first destination, will give him a tug at his heartstrings: from there to Marseilles his very early childhood had been spent. His waitress mother had conceived him with a stranger one night in late July 1969. And this was to be the most important investigation of his life: to find out who his father was. For five years Vince Corso has sent him a postcard a day, leaving the recipient’s name blank and addressing them to the only place he knew his father had passed through at least for one night: the Hotel Le Negresco in Nice. Her search will take place on the shores of the Côte d’Azur, among poor boarding houses and Art Nouveau hotels, behind poets’ verses and old characters laden with lived stories, following the indecipherable mosaic of individual destinies and coincidences. Until the recognition that completes the circle: being returned from books to life, getting back the chance to “love without measure.” French Nocturne is actually a nocturne full of light. It is a story of mistakes, of dates you don’t know you have, of labyrinths and orphans searching for a harbor. A novel where the melancholy of constantly leaving behind things and people, in time and space, dominates. But also the recklessness of setting out to find them. Or to be found.
A father in search of his son. A carpenter and his puppet. A little gem of creativity and literary inspiration.
What if the adventures of Geppetto, the creator of Pinocchio, were entirely different from how we know them? What if alongside the vicissitudes of the puppet who became a child there were also those of a father who wanted a son so much that he built him with his own hands?
Fabio Stassi has written a new story from a classic story, that of one of the greatest novels in Italian literature. In its pages the elderly carpenter becomes a feverish man driven by the desire for fatherhood, the victim of a cruel joke by his fellow citizens. The puppet’s exploits, funny, dramatic, violent, mingle with his adventures, which are themselves surprising and at times bewildering. Geppetto the man seems to step out of Collodi’s fairy tale for young and old and move to a contemporary stage where poverty, illness, the need for love, cruelty and redemption take center stage, the concrete engine of action. Thus Geppetto becomes a portrait of an introverted and reckless man, candid and visionary, who is about to face the world and discover it anew, pursuing the dream of a creature that is flesh of his flesh, into which he can pour the emotions and affection he carries within. But that world scorns and mocks him, revealing all its ferocity in a merciless condemnation of loneliness and diversity.
In Mastro Geppetto, Stassi indulges with evident pleasure in one of his great talents, that of shaping the real and imaginary matter of stories and characters to draw from them a tale rooted in desire and fantasy, producing the metamorphosis that transforms the fiction of literary art into the most luminous and moving truth, the most painful and human.
Uccido chi voglio
A new adventure with blacker hues than ever before for bibliotherapist Vince Corso, a conundrum that leads him to stray into the shadows and question the threatening and saving power of words.
This story was born in a prison. An Albanian inmate revealed to me in a meeting the true meaning of my family’s ancient nickname, Vrascadù. I had always believed it meant Fallen Arms and was a contraction of Sicilian. Instead, it was an Arbëreshë phrase; the boy handed me the translation on a torn page that I carried with me for years: I kill who I want. That is the title of this novel, and why it begins with another note sent from Regina Coeli.
Writing to Vince Corso, who by trade treats people by suggesting books to read, is a lifer named Queequeg. Thus begins a difficult week, in which Corso will find himself a foot away from madness and in the middle of an investigation, but from inquisitor to inquisite, as if in addition to reality even the alphabet has been turned upside down and a Magic Door exists for real between books and life.
Lost to Rome, Vince Corso trains himself to get lost, not to find himself. His is the testimony of an unwitting detective who can no longer read the world around him. A report on shadows, and on the threatening and saving power of words. A long letter to his father, after many postcards.
Vivere con i classici
“Embalming the Greeks and Romans robbed them of their strength, that is, their conflicting modernity” (from Luciano Canfora’s Introduction).
A reflection on how the role of the classics changes in everyday life through six captivating and thought-provoking stories signed by some of the great authors of the moment.
“I hate the classics. They are a horror, a nightmare. To begin with, who would these classics be? I had always thought they were the writers, philosophers and sculptors who lived in Greece and Rome so many years ago. But no, one fine day I made the discovery that authors like Dante, Balzac, Kant and painters like Velázquez and Michelangelo are also considered classics. All people who lived a long time after the real classics, the ones with the toga, the bum and the leather sandals, to be clear. What do you mean? Shouldn’t what is not classical be modern? It seems not. They say anything that happened in culture a long time ago but still works today as a kind of guide, to show us the way, is classical. I’m not convinced by that either, though.”
“Embalming the Greeks and Romans deprived them of their strength, that is, of their conflicting modernity” (from Luciano Canfora’s Introduction).
The conflicting modernity of the classics is the theme of this book: short stories and reflections in narrative form. Alicia Giménez-Bartlett, in an ironic Apologia, portrays a teenage girl, who repeats, “I hate the classics. The changing presence, in the seasons of life, of Ulysses, the prototype of adventure, is Francesco Cataluccio’s path. Daria Galateria illustrates the virtuous avarice that prefers the classics. Fabio Stassi imagines a science fiction scenario: an invincible species of woodworm has attacked libraries. So many write without having cut their teeth on the classics, per Roberto Alajmo: it is the prevalence of the bonghista. Scott Spencer reads Crime and Punishment without neglecting TV series, to profile the future of attraction to great books.