Bakunin’s Son

A Novel by Sergio Atzeni

Translated from the Italian
by John H. Rugman

“IN THIS NOVEL...the reader is treated to a series of interviews that reconstruct a colorful and complex life through the eyes of those who have shared it.” (Translation Review)

“Sergio Atzeni is among Italy’s most important young writers. Born in Sardinia in 1952, since 1986 he has published five novels, some by Italy’s most prestigious publishing houses. Atzeni’s novels in their form and content come closest to Antonio Tabucchi’s novellas. They suggest a society that resists simplistic applications of some of our most fundamental moral and political assumptions. Corruption is not the flip side of honesty, nor is immorality the mere opposite of morality.

“Set in Sardinia just before and after World War II, Bakunin’s Son (published in Italy in 1991) is yet another statement about the intractable conditions of political and social life in post-war Italy. From Paolo Volponi to Atzeni, the writer’s view of Italian life and politics does not change much. However, the form of the novel has undergone a radical transformation. Both in its content and form, Bakunin’s Son undermines any ideology that purports to rescue Italian society from its long-suffering political and economic stagnation since the war.

“The difficulty of locating a moral or workable center in Italian politics is represented cleverly in the novel by the unconventional use of a multiple narration. The narration is a series of interviews conducted by an anonymous voice who attempts to discover the identity of Bakunin’s son, Tullio Saba.....” (L’Italo Americano)

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