La Superba (Paperback)
Deep Vellum Publishing, 9781941920220, 416pp.
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
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"If Italo Calvino decided to make one of his invisible cities visible, the result might look something like Pfeijffer's Genoa." -- Benjamin Moser
An absolute joy to read, La Superba, winner of the most prestigious Dutch literary prize, is a Rabelaisian, stylistic tour-de-force about a writer who becomes trapped in his walk on the wild side in mysterious and exotic Genoa, centering on the stories of migration and immigration, legal and illegal, telling the story of modern Europe. Part migrant story, part perverse travel guide, La Superba is a wholly postmodern ode to the imagination that lovingly describes the labyrinthine and magical city that Pfeijffer calls home: Genoa, Italy, the city known as La Superba for its beauty and rich history.
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (b. 1968), poet, dramatist, novelist, renowned in the Netherlands as a master of language, is the only two-time winner of the Tzum Prize for "the most beautiful sentence written in Dutch" (including one in La Superba ).
About the Author
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (b. 1968), a classicist by training, made his literary debut with a poetry collection in 1999 that was an homage to the experimental poetry of his great models, Pindar and Lucebert. In the years that followed, in addition to poetry, he has written stage plays, essays, columns, travel accounts, stories, political satires, and four novels written in the spirit of Rabelais. In his other novels, including his debut he has toyed with the idea of world literature and divided the critics between those proclaiming him a genius and those who think him an antiquated stylist. He's a bit of both. La Superba, published in Dutch in 2013, is Pfeijffer's masterpiece of a novel, and was greeted with unanimous praise upon publication, including winning the Libris Literatuurprijs, the Netherlands' most prestigious literary award, and the Tzum Prize, awarded for "the most beautiful sentence of the year," which he has now won twice. His most recent poetry collection, Idyllen, published in 2015, became the first single work of poetry to ever win in the grand slam of the three major Dutch poetry awards--the VSB, Jan Campert, and Awater. Michele Hutchison (1972) lives in Amsterdam and translates from Dutch and French. She has translated Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Joris Luyendijk, Simone van der Vlugt, Esther Gerritsen and Pierre Bayard, alongside a number of children's books, graphic novels and poems. She also works as an editor and blogger.