Translated by Archibald Colquhoun and revised by Martin McLaughlin.
With a Preface by Italo Calvino.
'The novella that established his reputation … has the stark black-and-white quality of the classic Italian neo-realist films' The New York Times.
Pin is a bawdy, adolescent cobbler's assistant, both arrogant and insecure who – while the Second World War rages – sings songs and tells jokes to endear himself to the grown-ups of his town – particularly jokes about his sister, who they all know as the town's 'mattress'. Among those his sister sleeps with is a German sailor, and Pin is dared to steal his pistol, hiding it among the spiders' nests in an act of rebellion that entangles him in the adults' war.
Published in 1947, Italo Calvino's first novel remains startling, and the 1964 preface is his most brilliant piece of literary self-examination.
'The crucial novel of Calvino's early years' Mail on Sunday.