The Earth is Falling

£12.00

Carmen Pellegrino trans. Shaun Whiteside

PUBLISHING ON 28 MARCH 2024 AND AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

The Earth is Falling is a haunting and magical novel based around the existence of an abandoned village outside Naples. The deserted houses that still stand there are peopled with ghosts who live in a perpetual present from which time has effectively been abolished. The village appears to be semi-alive; the landslide which ominously awaits and which will eventually lead to the abandonment of the place has yet to arrive (yet its rumbles are heard).

Pellegrino peoples Alento with eccentrics, luminaries, an eternally optimistic town crier. In the closing pages, the narrator Estella summons  the remaining ghosts for a final dinner. The overall effect is unsettling, haunting and uncanny, the trapped souls doomed to repeat their circumscribed daily life for ever, cut off from the world but dimly aware of its continued presence outside. The pervading mood of nostalgia and melancholy works in stark contrast with the inevitability of the impending catastrophe of the landslide that threatens to obliterate their world forever. 

‘Pellegrino is perhaps the most gifted prose-writer of her generation.’Massimo Onofri, Avvenire

SHORTLISTED FOR THE CAMPIELLO PRIZE & RECIPIENT OF AN ENGLISH PEN TRANSLATES AWARD

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Description

The Earth is Falling is a haunting and magical novel based around the existence of an abandoned village outside Naples. The deserted houses that still stand there are peopled with ghosts who live in a perpetual present from which time has effectively been abolished. The village appears to be semi-alive; the landslide which ominously awaits and which will eventually lead to the abandonment of the place has yet to arrive (yet its rumbles are heard).

Pellegrino peoples Alento with eccentrics, luminaries, an eternally optimistic town crier. In the closing pages, the narrator Estella summons  the remaining ghosts for a final dinner. The overall effect is unsettling, haunting and uncanny, the trapped souls doomed to repeat their circumscribed daily life for ever, cut off from the world but dimly aware of its continued presence outside. The pervading mood of nostalgia and melancholy works in stark contrast with the inevitability of the impending catastrophe of the landslide that threatens to obliterate their world forever. 

‘What people: so vibrant and vital, if ghosts can be described as such. What a place: precarious yet utterly certain in Carmen Pellegrino’s vivid, poetic rendering. And what a book: melancholy, elegant, original and in its own particular way, totally seductive.’Wendy Erskine

‘Comparisons to Juan Rulfo’s masterpiece Pedro Páramo will be inevitable, but Pellegrino’s “village of the dead” is its own brilliant creature.’Marius Kociejowski

‘Pellegrino is perhaps the most gifted prose-writer of her generation.’Massimo Onofri, Avvenire

‘an absolutely original and poetic vision’ – Elena Cambiaghi, La Sicilia

Carmen Pellegrino is an Italian historian and writer. An eclectic scholar, she has focused her research on collective movements of dissidence, racism, social exclusion and the conditions of exploitation of migrants (including the essay ‘The Hours of my Day’, published in the anthology Qui and Fatigue: Stories, Tales and Reportage from the World of Work, 2010, winner of the Reportage Napoli Monitor award). Co-author of various collective works, in 2011 she co-edited with C. Zagaria the volume Not a Country for Women: Stories of Extraordinary Normality, in which she published an essay on Matilde Sorrentino. Among her most recent central themes of investigation is the study of uninhabited villages and the ruins of ancient settlements, through which she laid the foundations for a science of abandonment as a form of recovering awareness of the historical experience of places. In addition to The Earth is Falling (Cade la terra, 2015), which was shortlisted for the Campiello Prize, Pellegrino is the author of the novels If I Came Back This Evening Next (Se mi tornassi questa sera accanto, 2017) and The Happiness of Others (La felicità degli altri, 2021, also shortlisted for the Campiello prize).

Shaun Whiteside is an award-winning translator from Italian, French, German and Dutch. Originally from Northern Ireland, he has translated many works of fiction and non-fiction as well as classical and philosophical texts, notably works by Freud and Nietzsche in Penguin Classics. His translation of To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann won the Sharpe Books HWA Gold Crown for History Writing in 2018 and his translation from the French of Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq was long-listed for the International Man Booker Prize in 2021. His reviews have appeared in the TLS, the New Statesman, Guardian, Observer, Irish Times and the Literary Review.