Friday, January 13, 2023

Shelf Control: Malacqua, by Nicola Pugliese


Shelf Control is a feature where bloggers pick an unread book from our shelves and talk  about it a little. It's supposed to be a Wednesday thing but I have French Movie Mercredi on Wednesdays already, so. Shelf Control is hosted at

This week's pick is Nicola Pugliese's 1974 novel Malacqua, re-released in 2017 by And Other Stories. Not to be confused with the clothing chain of the same name, this is a small press based in England that specializes in translations. This was translated from the Italian by Shaun Whiteside.

I first encountered them around 2012 or 2013 when the publisher, Stefan Tobler, visited Porter Square Books in Cambridge and did a nice presentation for us booksellers. I love translations so I was really intrigued. I read a couple of titles and was hooked.

As far as Malacqua:

"The 1977 Italian cult classic mysteriously withdrawn from publication now in English for the first time," and blurbed by no less a personage than Italo Calvino. Irresistible!

The plot concerns the after-effects of a four-day flood in the city of Naples. The back of the book said that the book was withdrawn at the request of the author and did not appear again until 2012. I'm so happy it's made its way into translation.

I got it in the mail via subscription to the publisher. They offer different levels of subscriptions that gets you books mailed automatically and your name in the back of the book as a sponsor. I've been a subscriber for a number of years now and if you love small presses I highly recommend checking out their website and seeing if a subscription is right for you.

I don't mind that I don't get to pick the books;  I really like getting a bookish surprise in the mail every few months and I love what they do. Win-win!

1 comment:

Harvee said...

I have had to give away a lot of books and can't see myself collecting more. I'm reading mostly ebooks and library books now. But I still have enough unread books on my shelves to join in the Wednesday meme. Glad to find out about it.