Melania G. Mazzucco
Fuoco infinito (Infinite Fire)
A short novel, Italo Svevo, September 2021, 102 pages

Premio Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia

In the face of the death and the suffering of millions of people, what kind of relevance does art have?

Friuli, 1917. Nilo Boschini, a young history of art professor, is in charge of saving the works of art in danger of being destroyed on the Italian front. Among them there are the masterpieces by Giambattista Tiepolo, a much-loved artist, who received his first major commissions there back in the 18th century.

Marquise Solferina Zender is also not there to fight: she wants to support her homeland as a Red Cross nurse, but she’s deluded by war propaganda, which in no way corresponds the reality of war. Her encounter with Nilo, in that dark hour of the country, will change both their lives.

This World War I version of Monuments Men is both a powerful depiction of wartime that lets the reader actually hear the terrifying sound of the bombings – walls shattering all over, dust and dirt covering everything – and a delicate and insightful portrait of a great artist and his work, so vividly told that you can almost see it. Melania G. Mazzucco creates a masterfully orchestrated story in which the irreversibility of historical events and the consequent human tragedy alternate with the artistic parable of one of the greatest painters of the 18th century. And poses the reader a complex question: in the face of the death and the suffering of millions of people, what kind of relevance does art have?

Melania G. Mazzucco

Melania G. Mazzucco was born and lives in Rome. She is the author of Il bacio della Medusa (1996), La camera di Baltus (1998), Lei così amata (2000, Premio Napoli), about the writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Vita (2003, Premio Strega), Un giorno perfetto (2005), on which was based the movie with the same title by Ferzan Ozpetek, and two works about the Italian Renaissance painter Tintoretto: the novel La lunga attesa dell’angelo (2008, Premio Bagutta) and the essay Jacomo Tintoretto e i suoi figli (2009, Premio Comisso). In 2011 she received the Premio letterario Viareggio-Tobino as Author of the Year. Then, she wrote Limbo (2012, Premio Elsa Morante, Premio Rhegium Julii, Premio Matteotti, Premio Bottari Lattes Grinzane), Il bassotto e la Regina (2012, Premio Frignano Ragazzi 2013), Sei come sei (2013), Il museo del mondo (2014), in which she narrates 54 works of art, Io sono con te (2016, Rai Radio 3 Fahrenheit‘s Book of the Year), L’architettrice (2019, Premio Alassio, Premio Capalbio, Premio Alassio “Un autore per l’Europa”, Premio Dessì, Premio Corrado Alvaro e Libero Bigiaretti, Premio Io Donna, Premio Stresa, Premio Mastercard, Premio Manzoni, Premio Righetto, Premio Friuli Venezia Giulia). In 2020 she won the Premio alla Carriera John Fante. In 2021 she received Premio regione Friuli Venezia Giulia with the long story Fuoco infinito. She created and wrote the docu-film Tintoretto. A Rebel in Venice, a 2019 Sky Arts original production distributed in cinemas all over the world. She wrote for the theatre, the cinema and the radio and is a contributor to la Repubblica. She’s among the authors of the anthology Ferite (2021). Her books have been translated in 28 countries.

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