Last Act in Urbino

by Paolo Volponi

First English translation,
by Peter N. Pedroni,
of Il sipario ducale

WHEN TERRORIST BOMBS explode in a bank in Milan on December 12, 1969 they raise the curtain on a cast of unlikely players.

Prof. Gaspare Subissoni and his lifelong companion and inspiration, Vivés, are both anarchist veterans of the Spanish Civil War trying to retain their dignity, and their commitments in the face of a new age. The young Count Oddo Oddi-Semproni and his two unmarried aunts, Clelia and Marzia, who have protected him — and themselves — hide from the modern world in their crumbling Renaissance palace. Their chauffeur Giocondini serves them — and himself — with limousine tours to “Italy” and with overwrought dreams of a revived Duchy. But then the young prostitute Dirce — whom Oddo would have as his countess — sets all their worlds upside-down when she, Gaspare and Vivés join forces for one final act.

This satire of Italian social and political contrasts uses a wry wit and keen sense of detail to ask what, ultimately, is more real: the images of distant conflicts, allegiances and celebrities that flicker on and off the TV screen? Or the loves, memories, and loyalties of a single lifetime?

320 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-934977-33-3
Price: $20.00

Kindle Edition
Price: $9.99


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