Literary Saloon
Site of Review.

Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs.

the Best
the Rest
Review Index


to e-mail us:

In Association with Amazon.com

In association with Amazon.com - UK


the Complete Review

A Literary Saloon and Site of Review

Antonio Tabucchi
at the
complete review:

biographical | bibliography | quotes | pros/cons | our opinion | links


Name: Antonio TABUCCHI
Nationality: Italy
Born: 23 September, 1943
Died: 25 March, 2012
Awards: Prix Européen Jean Monnet
Prix Médicis Etranger

  • Attended University of Pisa
  • Taught at University of Genua and University of Siena
  • Has close ties to Portugal
  • Has travelled extensively through India and Latin America

Return to top of page.


Highlighted titles are under review at the complete review

  • Piazza d'Italia - novel, 1975
  • Il piccolo naviglio - novel, 1978
  • Letter from Casablanca - stories, 1981 (Il gioco del rovescio, trans. Janice M. Thresher, 1986)
  • The Woman of Porto Pim - stories, 1983 (Donna di Porto Pim, trans. Tim Parks, 1991; first published in the collection Vanishing Point)
  • Indian Nocturne - novel, 1984 (Notturno indiano, trans. Tim Parks, 1988)
  • Pessoana minima: escritos sobre Fernando Pessoa - non-fiction, 1984
  • Little Misunderstandings of No Importance - novel, 1985 (Piccoli equivoci senza importanza, trans. Frances Frenaye, 1987)
  • The Edge of the Horizon - novel, 1986 (Il filo dell'orizzonte, trans. Tim Parks, 1990)
  • The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico - quasi-stories, 1987 (I volatili del Beato Angelico, trans. Tim Parks, 1991; first published in the collection Vanishing Point)
  • Un baule pieno di gente: scritti su Fernando Pessoa - non-fiction, 1990
  • Requiem - novel, 1990 (Requiem, uma alucinação, trans. Margaret Jull Costa, 1994)
  • Dreams of Dreams - fiction (English trans. includes Sogni di sogni (1992) and Gli ultimi tre giorni di Fernando Pessoa (delirium, 1994 (The Last Three Days of Fernando Pessoa)), trans. Nancy J. Peters, 2000)
  • Pereira Declares - novel, 1994 (Sostiene Pereira, trans. Patrick Creagh, 1995)
  • The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro - novel, 1997 (La testa perduta di Damasceno Monteiro, trans. J.C.Patrick, 1999)
  • It's Getting Later All the Time - novel, 2001 (Si sta facendo sempre più tardi, trans. Alastair McEwen, 2006)
  • Tristano Dies - novel, 2004 (Tristano muore, trans. Elizabeth Harris, 2015)
  • For Isabel - mandala, (2013) (Per Isabel, trans. Elizabeth Harris, 2017)

Please note that this bibliography is not necessarily complete.

Return to top of page.


What others have to
say about
Antonio Tabucchi:

  • "Antonio Tabucchi continues his progress towards becoming an Italian Graham Greene." - The Economist (17/5/1997)

  • "Whereas Calvino produced fiction that read like tightly controlled prose poems Tabucchi creates stories that are elliptical puzzles, not so much concluding as trailing off -- they appear to end just when we hope they will continue." - Ronald De Feo, The Nation (6/6/1994)

  • "Tabucchi is always a disturbing writer. He understands that life (and art) is filled with plots, omens, secrets." - Irving Malin, Review of Contemporary Fiction (Fall, 1990)

  • "Tabucchi's writing is, above all, an artifice, a self-referring stem whose decodification demands a previous knowledge of the intellectual and artistic coordinates of the writer. Tabucchi is one of the most careful observers and original interpreters of the narrative and esthetic tendencies which emerged in Europe during the last two decades." - Anthony Costantini, World Literature Today (Summer, 1995)

  • "By now the appearance of a new novel by Antonio Tabucchi is a literary event." - Charles Klopp, World Literature Today (Winter, 1998)

Return to top of page.

Pros and Cons
of the author's work:

  • Playful, clever texts
  • Does both description -- of people, places, and food -- and complex concepts very well
  • Gentle, moral voice

  • Brief, often elusive texts too vague for some readers
  • Few easy answers or clear endings
  • Almost as many (English) translators as books, varying in quality and without a single voice
  • Not all his significant work available in English

Return to top of page.

the complete review's Opinion

     Antonio Tabucchi is one of the leading European writers, a man whose new works are eagerly anticipated, and who is widely translated across the continent and beyond. An Italian whose second home is Portugal he writes elegant and clever little books, stories and short novels that are deceptively simple yet manage to pack a great deal in relatively few pages.
     Tabucchi's characters are not loud or important people, but there is a humanity to almost all of them -- one which Tabucchi carefully reveals and emphasizes. There is anger at the Fascist legacies of specifically Italy and Portugal, and social injustice more generally, but Tabucchi presents it without loudly raging. Nevertheless, his censure is more resonant and effective than that of most socially engaged authors.
     Tabucchi writes well, equally adept lingering over a meal (preferably Portuguese) as presenting a dialogue on a philosophical or political topic. In some of the early works he tried too hard for effect, but in the more recent work he seems much more sure of himself and his writing. The latest novels, Pereira Declares and Requiem, seem almost effortless and read extremely well.
     Tabucchi's interest in Portugal, Portuguese food, the poet Pessoa, and India crop up repeatedly in his work, as do certain periods and certain types. Nevertheless, even when his work is another variation on a familiar theme he generally brings much that is new to it.

Return to top of page.


Antonio Tabucchi: Antonio Tabucchi's Books at the complete review: See also:

Return to top of page.

© 2000-2021 the complete review

Main | the New | the Best | the Rest | Review Index | Links