Author(s): Giorgio Bassani
A new translation of Giorgio Bassani's haunting collection of short stories that evoke 1930s Ferrara, with an introduction by Ali Smith. Isolated lives and a lost world are evoked in these memorable stories set in the Jewish-Italian community of 1930s Ferrara. A young man's unrequited love; a strange disappearance; a faded hotel; a lonely funfair; the smell of mown hay at the gates of the Jewish Cemetery - these vivid, impressionistic snapshots build a picture of life's brevity and intensity. Part of the sequence including The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles and The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, and featuring people and places from these novels, The Smell of Hay is told with a voice that is by turns intimate, ironic, elegiac and rueful. This new translation contains two pieces, added by Bassani to his earlier collection, which have never appeared in English before. "Powerful new translations...Bassani began as a poet, and McKendrick's redelivery of this taut uncompromising fiction reveals resonance and generosity". (Ali Smith). "Giorgio Bassani is one of the great witnesses of this century, and one of its great artists". (Guardian).
Giorgio Bassani (1916-2000) was an Italian poet, novelist and editor. The Smell of Hay is the last in a series of six works collected together as Il romanzo di Ferrara. Other works in the cycle include The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, which received the Viareggio Prize and inspired an Academy Award-winning film adaptation by Vittorio de Sica, The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles, and Within the Walls (originally published as Five Stories of Ferrara), which won the Strega Prize. Jamie McKendrick is a poet and translator. His translations of Bassani's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis and The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles are already available as Penguin Modern Classics, and he is in the process of translating the rest of the Romanzo di Ferrara cycle anew.