La pelle by Curzio Malaparte, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. This article reconsiders Curzio Malaparte’s polemical novel La pelle [], which either has been condemned as a false historical account of post-Liberation . Curzio Malaparte, Writer: Il Cristo proibito. Curzio Malaparte () was a prominent Italian writer who directed one film, La pelle (novel “La pelle”).

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The Skin – Wikipedia

Curaio to Book Page. Preview — The Skin by Curzio Malaparte. The Skin by Curzio Pe,le. Non uno scrittore impegnato. Paperbackpages. Published December 31st by Marlboro Press first published Naples Italy Rome Italy.

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The Skin by Curzio Malaparte

Why download is in arabic, not english or italian? See 2 questions about The Skin…. Lists with This Book. Malaparte is a difficult chap to warm to. Hitler blamed communism on the Jews; Malaparte blames it on homosexuals.

What saves him, as an author, is his tremendous wit, his hugely impressive erudition and his ability to write so damn well. The first interesting aspect of this book is that it perhaps shows how fascism in Italy was of a different hue to fascism in Germany.

In Germany you feel fascism was largely the extorting opportunism of the disenfranchised lower middle class and intellect was something it always sought to purge; in Italy fascism began its life as an aesthetic and thus had more backing from the intelligentsia. Malaparte is like the personification of the deep embittering disillusionment that arrived when fascism showed itself to be little more than opportunistic thuggery.

Which is why he is able to write so well about the humiliation of the Italian people when they know the ambivalence of being simultaneously defeated and liberated by the Allies. There are shades of Iraq here — a populace bewildered by the conundrum of liberated or defeated and humiliated.

The book begins in Naples in The city has just been liberated but resembles some kind of dystopian nightmare in its moral depravity and surreal breakdown of order. He narrates one scene where American soldiers are paying money to see a Neapolitan virgin.

She is a twelve year old girl lying spreadeagled on a mattress in a hovel.

Narrates malqparte where an American commander always serves his guests the ubiquitous spam accompanied by an exotic fish from the Naples aquarium because, due to German mines, fishing is banned in the bay of Naples. At the banquet Malaparte attends the served fish in question looks exactly like a girl child. Afterwards when everyone is eating stew at a field camp Malaparte looks distressed but remains silent. And this is what Malaparte does so well — highlights the horrors of pel,e through a filter of macabre psychedelia.

His journey through the aftermath of the war is like a relentless acid trip. Shades of Nabokov in his black humour. Cyrzio especially enjoyed the banter between the sardonic and cynical Malaparte and the wet-behind-the-ears idealism and gullibility of his American colleagues.

Not an easy read but decidedly brilliant and original none pellle less. View all 5 comments. Although entirely impossible due to the fact of it being banned in the cityhad there been a book signing event held in Naples for ‘La Pelle’ The Skinthe pen of Kurt Erich Suckert Curzio Malapatre would in all likelihood stay firmly in the breast pocket of his suit. Many would want to see him yes, but not for the signing of any book.

No, this queue about a mile long full of angry souls including Neapolitans, members of the Italian Government, The Pope, Blacks, Homosexuals, and Dwarfs, w Although entirely impossible due to the fact of it being banned in the cityhad there been a book signing event held in Naples for ‘La Pelle’ The Skinthe pen of Kurt Erich Suckert Curzio Malapatre would in all likelihood mapaparte firmly in the breast makaparte of his suit.


No, this queue about a mile long full of angry souls including Neapolitans, members of the Italian Government, The Pope, Blacks, Homosexuals, and Dwarfs, would want to give him a torrent of abuse. Even the sirens of the sea may feel obliged to come ashore out of the bay of Naples to throw chunks of coral at him.

Pellle for one would have gladly stood in line for a signed copy, even if it meant getting lynched by the locals, would even shake his hand and say “well done Pwlle Malaparte! Hoping then he would invite me back to his cliff side Villa on Capri for a spot malapartr lunch.

It’s controversial, it’s distasteful, degrading and obscene, but then isn’t that war?. It’s also brilliantly written, about human disgust, and the savagery that war inflicts upon a city and it’s inhabitants. Every page captured my attention, whether believable or not. He has enlarged the art of inventive fiction in more surreal and perverse ways than I ever could have imagined.

Malaparte gets to star in his own book, as himself. A member of the National Fascist Party before the war he was a firm supporter of Mussolini, but turned to the left after Italy was left ravaged by conflict. Here he plays an Liaison officer as he was in real life to an American colonel Jack Hamiltonthey tour the battle-scarred and comfortless streets of a depraved and ruined Naples, a place where selling out was the cunning and ugly art of survival, mothers would sell their children, children would sell their mothers, whores would not only sell themselves but also beggars in the gutter.

Malaparte – “the city was like a lump of cow dung, squashed by the foot of a passer-by”. He is a lap dog, sucking up to the Americans, to him they are Gods, while he thinks of himself as nothing more than a ‘filthy rotten Italian’. They involve themselves in some quite bizarre situations, that left me reeling in both horror and almost howls of laughter, because I simply could not believe what I peole reading.

I knew within the early stages this was going to be malaparrte different kind of war novel, the mere mention of ‘grotesque midget women who whine peculiar noises from within their hovels’ had me rubbing my eyes just to make sure I was indeed awake.

There are other shameful moments when the pair enter a shop selling ‘strange blonde wigs’, the repugnance casting of their eyes behind a curtain of a young virgin girl used for viewing pleasure, a party full of young bourgeois students, that ends like something out of a nightmare, and a banquet for high Allied officers that had the famous aquarium being raided for a prized fish.

In fact at this point the films of both Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alejandro Jodorowsky came to mind for the use of shocking and surreal imagery. If the Gods connived and double crossed one another over the fate of Troy, Mussolini, Hitler and lastly the Americans took a no lees lively interest in Naples.

A place of vast suffering, men, women and children living in a destroyed city with barely a bite to eat, a drop of water to drink, would do just about anything to get by. Did the Americans come as conquerors or liberators? The Italians Malaparte says, jump for joy, out the windows of their ruined houses waving foreign flags, and hurtling flowers at the conquerors.

Later in the novel when switching to Rome, a man so excited by the sight of the Allies falls under the caterpillars of a Sherman tank and ends up flat as pancake.

California Italian Studies

Troubled by this the General at least offers money for a decent burial. When talking of, or to the Americans Malaparte does so with a double edged voice, there is a quirky arrogance that he may be acting like a wolf in sheeps clothing, nothing is abundantly clear towards his actions.

There is a frolicsome banter used in the dialogue, and lots of joking around, yet death is everywhere, in the air, the sea, and on the ground right in front of them. I have to say there was an appalling political ignorance from all sides during WW2 towards the poor people of Naples, and the disbanded Italian army were looked at like the scum of the earth, Malaparte’s attitude towards his own people is as complicated and contradictory as his views on the Americans.

They are no more simple victims than the latter are simple victors. It’s Malaparte’s bad conscience, he taunts, teases and titillates one minute, before punishing the reader with the vile and humiliating the next. Is this a case of, I love the book but despise the writer? He may have been a fascist, but others committed far worse, that doesn’t stop him from being an exceptional writer, and ‘The Skin’ is one of the finest works I have read on the subject of World War II, and for that, he gets top marks.


View all 13 comments. This was another amazing work from Malaparte, but I enjoyed it less than Kaputt. At times, I really felt he was trying to clear his rotten conscience by playing the good guy.

At the same time, there are unforgettable images here: I did not really get what he was saying with the foetuses at the end that he had not already said in Kaputt or the previous chapters of The Skin. The questions I ask myself reading this book ar This was another amazing work from Malaparte, but I enjoyed it less than Kaputt. The questions I ask myself reading this book are: I was also repulsed at his broad homophobic statements at various parts of the book. The Urania orgy just being the most outrageous of them.

Catch and The Skin tell the story of the same part of WWII from opposite sides American and Italo-Fascist and I would have to admit that despite its horrors, Catch while being as condemning on war, ignorance, and rape as The Skin, was certainly funnier if less horrifying. The Proustian prose of Malaparte is beautiful to read and I could picture many of the scenes he described rather vividly. Both books plus Kaputt make powerful argues that might does not always make right and that war is a living hell that I hope my son will never have to face.

Curzio Malaparte To win a war – everyone can do that, but not everyone is capable of losing one. I don’t know why he was initially a fascist, but he was too much of a free thinker to be one for long. He was kicked out of the party for his free thinking and for lamb Curzio Malaparte To win a war – everyone can do that, but not everyone is capable of losing one. He was kicked out of the party for his free thinking and for lambasting both Hitler and Mussolini in various publications and exiled on an island for five years; subsequently he was arrested and imprisoned multiple times.

In between incarcerations he was an editor of a literary journal and of La Stampa for a time. His most important novels, Kaputt and La pellewere both set in the war, the former on the Eastern Front and the latter during the invasion and occupation of Italy by the Allies.

I first read La pelle The Skin, available in English translation decades ago and was deeply affected by its merciless depiction of the misery and degradation of both the Italians and the occupying forces.

Burns was an upper middle class American idealist, so his malapsrte reactions to what he saw in North Africa and Italy were outrage, disgust and disillusionment. Malaparte was twenty years older he had served with distinction in WW I and more experienced, not to mention Italian and thus not quite so laden peloe with illusions.

Both authors skewer America. Burns’ tone is satirical or directly accusatory, while Malaparte’s is bitterly ironic, though Malaparte seems to manifest more sympathy for the Americans than Burns does. And while Burns’ portrayal of the misery, degradation and widespread corruption was graphic enough, Malaparte is just merciless.

In fact, I hope he was exaggerating for effect. But for the strong of stomach La pelle is a powerfully written panorama of mankind in extraordinary circumstances, both the good and the horrible, savorously spiced with all the idiosyncrasies of that ancient city by the beautiful Golfo di Napoli, whose people – peelle Malaperte emphasizes – have become through centuries of domination by others masters of mlaaparte and gaming the system, every system.

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