And the winner of this year’s Obooki Prize is….

….the Italian writer, Ermanno Cavazzoni, for his novel, The Voice of the Moon.

Ermanno Cavazzoni was born in Reggio Emilia in 1947, and now teaches aesthetics at the University of Bologna. He co-founded the Italian group OuLePo, which is an Italian version of OuLiPo. This page contains a picture of him (he is the man standing on the left, with the brown envelope). You can perhaps imagine his books from his appearance. The book I read, The Voice of the Moon, was made into a film by Federico Fellini, which is one of the few of his I haven’t seen.

Since I bought The Voice of the Moon after reading the first page in the shop, I thought I’d share it. It goes like this:

    The things that happened, as they appeared to me

In the beginning there was this very strange thing, which possibly you won’t believe, but people were finding messages in bottles at the bottom of wells.

I wondered what on earth this could mean, that somebody should leave a message in a bottle in a well, in the manner of somebody shipwrecked at sea; I found this rather puzzling.

However, people told me that this happened quite often in the plain. In the wells they used to find letters, notes, threatening messages of scribbled jottings in tightly corked bottles. And sometimes they saw even stranger things floating around on the bottom.

There was no apparent explanation for this phenomenon; many people believed that the waters of the wells somehow connected directly with subsoil and some said that here in the valley floor you often heard the sound of wailing voices coming out of wells, and some people had apparently heard themselves called by name.

You may find this head to believe, but it’s quite a common and well-known fact; people hereabouts say that the voices are like the bottles, and neither the one nor the other is open to explanation. These could be superstitions, so to speak.

And so it was that I began my travels at the end of August. I have to say that I had no great expectations. Or rather, I had expectations, but I preferred to keep them to myself. And I followed the lines of the foothills, which took me through a number of towns.

So he begins his adventures, which are a series of investigations into a series of inexplicable (or seemingly inexplicable) phenomena.

Here’s his Italian Wikipedia page.

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2 thoughts on “And the winner of this year’s Obooki Prize is….

  1. no fair, it’s not even on your list! speculation be damned indeed…so, who published it in English, or do you read Italian?

  2. Well, I didn’t finish it until Dec 30th. – I suppose it was a bit difficult to speculate.

    It’s published here (i.e. England) by Serpent’s Tail (a publisher who, this year in particular, I’ve come to greatly admire for their choices – of which, more detail later). Here it is on Amazon (US) for $0.01. (The Publishers’ Weekly summary of the book is fair enough, if a little harsh).

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