A New York Review Books Original
There’s a certain street—via Saterna—in the middle of Milan that just doesn’t show up on maps of the city. Orfi, a wildly successful young singer, lives there, and it’s there that one night he sees his gorgeous girlfriend Eura disappear, “like a spirit,” through a little door in the high wall that surrounds a mysterious mansion across the way. Where has Eura gone? Orfi will have to venture with his guitar across the borders of life and death to find out.
Featuring the Ashen Princess, the Line Inspector, trainloads of Devils, Trudy, Valentina, and the Talking Jacket, Poem Strip—a pathbreaking graphic novel from the 1960s—is a dark and alluring investigation into mysteries of love, lust, sex, and death by Dino Buzzati, a master of the Italian avant-garde.
"This is weird, wild, wonderful.... The images are surreal, sexy and frightening, and the text is both compelling and poetic. There are shades of Fellini, shades of Dickens, shades of the great Italian horror director Mario Bava. A beautiful book." — Los Angeles Times
"I think I stumbled upon this on late-night TV when I was a kid: Donovan, playing himself, wandering through a neo-Caligari lava-lamp world of writhing Barbara Steeles and Sophia Lorens in search of love and justice and groove. I’m happy to see it’s on again." --Daniel Handler
“Images of spectres, harpies and symbols of death—out of a Gothic tale—alternate with the luscious nudity of witches and temptresses; Buzzati’s mythological comic strip constantly plays with horror and sex. It is frightening, lyrical and provocative.”
—The New York Times
"One of Italy's best-known contemporary writers." --The New York Times
"Buzzati was a master at transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, fusing the world of nightmare with that of objective reality, and thus creating an ominous universe of ambiguous, allegorical dimensions." --Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature
"Returning to a more experimental narrative style with Poema a fumetti, Buzzati presents a pop version of the ancient legend of Orpheus and Eurydice through the contemporary medium of the comic strip. He transforms the classical singer into Orfi, a rock-and-roll artist, and gives a new twist to the ancient myth." --Cassell Dictionary of Italian Literature
"It is surprising how many forgotten authors have managed to survive in their short fiction rather than their novels, even though their full-length works received critical adulation upon publication. Dino Buzzati is obscure even by bibliophiles' standards, but it's important to include him here because he was an extraordinary writer...Buzzati's greatest strength lay here, in a kind of Italian magical realism that heightened the simple and practical with seemingly fantastic elements...his writing feels timeless... Indeed, finding his work without paying a fortune for it is a labour of patience." --The Independent (UK)