Fantastic Tales by Iginio Ugo Tarchetti / ISBN 9781939810625 / 260 pages, small paperback with flaps from Archipelago
"Tarchetti's beguiling fantasies are triumphs of imagination as well as masterfully told stories. Tarchetti writes with comic bravura and surrealist invention that makes him a cousin, at least, of Kafka and Isak Dinesen." - Guy Davenport
Lawrence Venuti, winner of a Guggenheim fellowship and the Global Humanities Translation Prize, among many other awards, has translated into English these Italian Gothic tales of obsessive love, mysterious phobias, and the hellish curse of everlasting life.
In this collection of nine eerie stories, Iginio Ugo Tarchetti switches effortlessly between the macabre and the breezily comical. Set in nineteenth-century Italy, his characters court spirits and blend in with the undead: passionate romances filled with jealousy and devotion are fueled by magic elixirs. Time becomes fluid as characters travel between centuries, chasing affairs that never quite prosper. First published by Mercury House in 1992.
"Tarchetti was pretty much the sole practitioner of the Gothic tale in his own language. Until his death in 1869 at the age of 29, he poured out a stream of freakish and fervid stories that made him moderately famous -- and definitively minor. Does I. U. Tarchetti deserve better? Judging from Lawrence Venuti's elegantly translated collection, "Fantastic Tales," the answer is yes." -James Marcus, The New York Times Book Review