& Other Stories
Much admired in Europe, Landolfi has been called "the Italian Kafka"; he is often linked with the Surrealists, and in the intellectual quality of his fantasy there are certain affinities with Borges; but beyond these superficial comparisons, his is a truly unique––and fascinating––art. It is based in a prodigious imagination, a very curious sense of humor and a rare command of irony.
In 1964, with the stories of Gogol’s Wife, New Directions introduced English language readers to the indelibly strange Italian master Tommaso Landolfi. Each tale is more astonishing than the next (what with a sacrilegious ape and an inflatable wife), though the stories are all delivered in a smooth and oddly decorous way. Casting its spell, this combination of the outré and the well-mannered unnerves the reader. The stories’ duality is the stuff of nightmares, though the author’s real nightmare, according to his champion Italo Calvino, is 'that nothingness does not exist.'
Praise For Gogol's Wife: & Other Stories…
— Michael Peck - The Believer
Extraordinary—it is Landolfi's clean, deliberate style that is so striking: that, combined with a lovely freedom of invention, allowed him to bring off this incredibly pure potion of the grotesque and the ludicrous. It is difficult to praise Gogol's Wife too highly—it is an occasion for joy, comparable to the belated recent translation and discovery by the English reading public of Machado de Assis and Jorgue Luis Borges.
— Susan Sontag - The New York Review of Books
The triumphant Gogol’s Wife by the modern Italian short-story writer Tommaso Landolfi, is perhaps the funniest and most unnerving story that I’ve yet read—Landolfi’s Gogol (who might have been invented by Kafka or by Borges) has married a rubber balloon, a splendidly inflatable dummy who assumes different shapes and sizes at her husband’s whim.
— Harold Bloom
New Directions, 9780811200806, 187pp.
Publication Date: January 17, 1963