I Hadn't Understood by Diego de Silva

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Malinconico is a Neapolitan lawyer without a single case. He goes through the motions every day, leaving for the office punctually, shuffling papers when he gets to the studio he shares with a group of un-gainfully employed professionals like him. His personal life is a shambles: his wife has left him, his two teenage children are rife with adolescent angst and busy screwing their lives up royally. And his professional life, as noted, is nonexistent.

But one day a miracle occurs. Indeed, two! The first is that he is assigned a case. And not any old case! He has been named the defense attorney for a member of the Neapolitan underground, Mimmo the Burzone. The second miracle bears the name Alessandra Persiana-the most beautiful woman to ever grace the Neapolitan courthouses -who, it appears, has fallen in love with Malinconico.

However, the real miracle for readers in this rollicking novel is the hilarious and eccentric voice of Vincenzio Malinconico. The novel orbits around the bizarre and irresistible mind of Malinconico, a mind that pauses to contemplate every aspect of the life he sees before him, the life he has lived, his memories and his future; a voice that seduces, entertains, and moves the reader from the first page to the last.

About Diego de Silva

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About the AuthorDiego De Silva was born in Naples in 1964. He is the author of plays, screenplays, and six novels. I Hadn't Understood was a finalist for the Strega Prize, Italy's most prestigious literary award, and winner of the Naples Prize for fiction. His books have been translated into eight languages. He currently lives in Salerno. About the TranslatorAntony Shugaar's translations for Europa include: Margherita Dolce Vita and Timeskipper by Stefano Benni, Carmine Abate's Between Two Seas, First Execution by Domenico Starnone, and Massimo Carlotto's The Fugitive and Poisonville.
Published February 28, 2012 by Europa. 356 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Despite the less-than-scintillating title, De Silva has crafted a sharp-edged comedic novel of a semi-hapless Italian lawyer, Vincenzo Malinconico.

Mar 08 2012 | Read Full Review of I Hadn't Understood

Publishers Weekly

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Meet Vincenzo Malinconico, “master of the improvisational jazz of complications” (as in creating, rather than controlling, them).

Jan 30 2012 | Read Full Review of I Hadn't Understood


David Cooper is a widely published poet and translator whose prose has appeared in New York Woman, Poetic Voices, Mind Body and Soul, The Israel Economist, and the wire services of The Associated Press.

Mar 05 2012 | Read Full Review of I Hadn't Understood

New York Journal of Books

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“Kudos to translator Antony Shagaar for his superb job of rendering Mr. De Silva’s Italian into colloquial contemporary American English.”

Feb 28 2012 | Read Full Review of I Hadn't Understood

Open Salon

I control my condition by performing a time consuming maintenance regimen which includes keeping to a low fat, very low sodium diet, sleeping in a soft cast with velcro straps that I can tighten to the correct degree of compression, wearing thigh high compression stockings in the daytime, showeri...

Mar 05 2012 | Read Full Review of I Hadn't Understood

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