The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories | edited by Jhumpa Lahiri
As the next step in a remarkable career turn, Jhumpa Lahiri, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of several works of fiction in English, follows her Italian-language In Other Words by editing The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories (Penguin, $30). Discovering that many writers who inspired her were out of print or poorly translated, she assembled a collection of forty stories that represent the “robust tradition” of Italian writing from the twentieth century. Aiming “to present a portrait of Italy that reflects its reality,” she chose poets, journalists, musicians, critics, teachers, visual artists, scientists, politicians, and diplomats—then organized their works in reverse alphabetical order by their last name. Many of these names—Tomasi di Lampedusa, Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, and Natalia Ginzburg—will be familiar to English speakers, while others—Elio Vittorini, Ennio Flaiano, and Anna Banti—will be wonderful discoveries, as will be the sixteen stories here translated into English for the first time. Added bonuses include Lahiri’s illuminating introduction, brief profiles of each contributor, a dual chronology of Italy’s historical and literary events from 1840 to 2009, and suggestions for further reading.