The Last of the Vostyachs by Diego Marani
(Dedalus Europe 2012)

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...if you buy enough copies, Dedalus will be able to afford a proofreader for the second edition.


The Last of the Vostyachs won two literary prizes in Italy: The Premio Campiello and The Premio Stresa. As a child, Ivan and his father work as forced labourers in a mine in Siberia, the father having committed some minor offence against the regime. Ivan’s father is then murdered in front of his young son, after which Ivan – who is a Vostyach, an imaginary ethnic group of whose language he is the last remaining speaker – is struck dumb by what he has witnessed. Some twenty years later the guards desert their posts and Ivan walks free, together with the other inmates. Guided by some mysterious power, he returns to the region he originally came from... A 'genius' Helsinki mystery with a touch of The Killing. So, we have: 1. An intellectual puzzle. 2. A wild man of nature adrift in a big city. 3. A policier set near the Arctic Circle. (If that alone doesn't make you put down your copies of Fifty Shades of Whatever then I despair. It has that Killingesque atmosphere.) 4. Magic, and a sense of the immensity of the primeval universe. 5. An unmistakable dash of humour, even when your nerves are being shredded. 6. Wolves, and a Siberian tiger, let loose from a zoo. 7. A happy ending against all odds. And 8. All hanging together. When I reviewed Grammar, I edged towards using the word "genius" to describe Marani. I'm doing so again now. " Nick Lezard's Choice in The Guardian

About Diego Marani

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Diego Marani was born in Ferrara in 1959. He works as a senior linguist for the European Union in Brussels.Every week he writes a column for a Swiss newspaper about current affairs in Europanto, a language that he has invented. He has also published in France a collection of short stories in Europanto.In Italian he has published six novels, the most recent being L'Amico della Donna Judith Landry was educated at Somerville College, Oxford where she obtained a first class honours degree in French and Italian.She combines a career as a translator of works of fiction,art and architecture with part-time teaching.Her translations for Dedalus are: The House by the Medlar Tree by Giovanni Verga,The Devil in Love by Jacques Cazotte,Paris Noir:The Weeping Woman on the Streets of Prague by Sylvie Germain and Smarra & Trilby by Charles Nodier.
Published September 11, 2013 by Dedalus Limited. 168 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Reviewed by Nicholas Lezard on Aug 14 2012

...if you buy enough copies, Dedalus will be able to afford a proofreader for the second edition.

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