06.10.2010 - Alessandro Baricco

Alessandro Baricco was one of the first Italian authors since Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco to gain a global readership again. In 1996 he published his breakthrough novel Silk, and since then his work remained assured of  worldwide attention. Silk was made into a film as was his theater monologue Novecento – The Legend of 1900 – and in Holland for instance, his novel Questa storia [this story] was successfully brought into the theatres as ‘Ultimo’ past season, with Ariane Schluter and Porgy Franssen playing the leading parts.

Meanwhile in Italy, Baricco himself undertook lots of other projects. He brought revisions of The Ilias and Moby Dick on stage and he hosted a popular television show on books. He also made his debut as a movie director in 2008 with Lecture 21. As for Holland, 2010 turns out to be a rather good Baricco-year. In January, the Dutch translation of I Barbari  [the barbarians] was published, a lengthy essay he wrote on the gradual downfall of our cultural awareness. At the end of September, his long awaited new novel will appear in Dutch: Emmaüs.

In Emmaüs, four boys with a strict catholic upbringing are forced to explore the uncultivated area between condemnation and salvation, when they become fascinated by the atheistic, worldly girl Andre. The result is a beautiful portrayal of the uncertainties of youth.