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Written by Antonio Tabucchi, one of the most renowned voices in European literature and the foremost Italian writer of his generation, this sublimely questioning, superbly imaginative collection of fragments and quasi-stories moves from impression to association to conjecture. The reader meets a delicate flying creature of ambiguous species--replete with feathers in ochre, yellow, deep blue, and emerald green--in Fra Angelico's vegetable garden; and a revolutionary who is told her incredible future by Mademoiselle Lenormand, a fortune teller from the shadow world.
Like good short fiction, the stories in this volume act in ways that suggest a wider world outside the frame of the story."
A witty and subtle meditation on the limitations of memory and imagination."
—Nick Hornby, Times Literary Supplement
[Tabucchi's] prose creates a deep, near-profound and sometimes heart-wrenching nostalgia and constantly evokes the pain of recognizing the speed of life's passing which everyone knows but few have the strength to accept ... Wonderfully thought-provoking and beautiful."
—Alan Cheuse, NPR's All Things Considered
Hypochondria, insomnia, restlessness, and yearning are the lame muses of these brief pages. I would have liked to call them Extravaganzas . . . because many of them wander about in a strange outside that has no inside, like drifting splinters. . . . Alien to any orbit, I have the impression they navigate in familiar spaces whose geometry nevertheless remains a mystery; let’s say domestic thickets: the interstitial zones of our daily having to be, or bumps on the surface of existence. . . In them, in the form of quasi-stories, are the murmurings and mutterings that have accompanied and still accompany me: outbursts, moods, little ecstasies, real or presumed emotions, grudges, and regrets."
—Antonio Tabucchi (on The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico)
There is in Tabucchi's stories the touch of the true magician, who astonishes us by never trying too hard for his subtle, elusive and remarkable effects."
—The San Francisco Examiner