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The Lover of No Fixed Abode by Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini. Translated by Gregory Dowling.

lover of no fixed abode

The Lover of No Fixed Abode (Bitter Lemon Press) by Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini. Translated by Gregory Dowling

ICI London and Bitter Lemon Press present a recording of the book’s translator Gregory Dowling  in conversation with Tim Parks, moderated by professor and author Enrico Palandri.

Available to watch on our Vimeo channel from Thursday 18 April

Gregory Dowling and Tim Parks are engaged by Professor Palandri in a lively discussion about The Lover of No Fixed Abode, a masterpiece originally published in Italian in 1986 and available now for the first time in English in Dowling’s brilliant translation. Fruttero and Lucentini were a well-known literary duo in Italy for several decades, until Lucentini’s death (by suicide) in 2002. For about forty years they co-wrote articles, literary essays, and published six novels together. The Lover of No Fixed Abode, is the fourth of their novels. While containing elements of crime fiction (particularly as regards the shady side of the art world), it is essentially – as the title suggests – a love story. The novel, of course, does have a mystery at its heart – and it concerns the identity of the principal character. The novel’s particular charm lies in the wonderfully evocative descriptions of Venice, by night, during a storm, from the grand open spaces of St Mark’s Square to the interiors of grand palazzi, by way of back-street bars.

Dowling, Parks and Palandri discuss the genesis of the novel, its style, its wit, and the influences of American and British crime fiction, but also the background and passions of the authors and the challenges of writing a novel together. They dissect the highly effective social satire embedded in the novel, in particular that of the art world and the various absurd characters who inhabit it.

Watch on ICI London’s Vimeo channel

Professor Enrico Palandri is Venetian. His debut novel, Boccalone, in 1979, gave him notoriety at a young age. As well as verses, essays and short stories, between 1986 and 2010 he wrote six novels. Bompiani has recently published Le condizioni atmosferiche (2020), and previously L’inventore di se stesso (2017) and Verso l’Infinito (2019).

Tim Parks is a novelist, essayist, travel writer and translator based in Italy, where he has now lived for almost forty years. Author of eighteen novels – including the Booker-shortlisted EuropaDestiny, Cleaver, and more recently In Extremis – he has translated works by Moravia, Pavese, Calvino, Calasso, Tabucchi, Pasolini, Machiavelli and Leopardi. His many non-fiction works include Italian NeighboursAn Italian Education, A Season with Verona, Italian Ways and The Hero’s Way, Walking with Garibaldi from Rome to Ravenna, Teach Us to Sit Still, and Out of My Head.

Gregory Dowling is Associate Professor of North-American Language and Literature at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice where he has lived since 1981. He has published widely on British and American writers in Italy, from the Romantic age onwards. He is the author of the sightseeing pages of the Time Out Guide to Venice and he has published six thrillers (one of which, See Naples and Kill, came out in Italian in 2015); the last two, Ascension and The Four Horsemen, belong to the Alvise Marangon series, set in 18th-century Venice.