For Isabel: A Mandala (Paperback)
Archipelago Books, 9780914671800, 144pp.
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
A metaphysical detective story about love and existence from the Italian master, Antonio Tabucchi. When Tadeus sets out to find Isabel, his former love, he soon finds himself on a metaphysical journey across the world, one that calls into question the meaning of time and existence and the power of words. Isabel disappeared many years ago. Tadeus Slowacki, a Polish writer, her former friend and lover, has come back to Lisbon to learn of her whereabouts. Rumors abound: Isabel died in prison under Salazar's regime, or perhaps wasn't arrested at all. As Tadeus interviews one old acquaintance of hers after the next, a chameleon-like portrait of a young, ideological woman emerges, ultimately bringing Tadeus on a metaphysical journey across the continent. Constructed in the form of a mandala, For Isabel is the spiraling search for an enigma, an investigation into time and existence, the power of words, and the limits of the senses. In this posthumous work Tabucchi creates an ingenious narration, tracing circles around a lost woman and the ultimate inaccessible truth.
About the Author
Antonio Tabucchi was born in Pisa in 1943 and died in Lisbon in 2012. A master of short fiction, he won the Prix Medicis Etranger for Indian Nocturne, the Italian PEN Prize for Requiem: A Hallucination, the Aristeion European Literature Prize for Pereira Declares, and was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. Together with his wife, Maria Jose de Lancastre, Tabucchi translated much of the work of Fernando Pessoa into Italian. Tabucchi's works include The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico, The Woman of Porto Pim, Time Ages in a Hurry, and Tristano Dies (all from Archipelago).Elizabeth Harris's translations from Italian include Mario Rigoni Stern's novel Giacomo's Seasons (Autumn Hill Books), Giulio Mozzi's story collection This Is the Garden (Open Letter Books), and Antonio Tabucchi's novel Tristano Dies (Archipelago Books). Her awards include a 2013 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant and the 2016 National Translation Award for Prose, both for Tabucchi's Tristano Dies. A professor of creative writing for many years, Harris now translates full-time. She lives with her family in a small town in Wisconsin, along the Mississippi.