Eruptions

by Monica Sarsini

Publishers Weekly, August 23, 1999

The Midwest Book Review, March 2000

BOMB, Spring 2000

America Oggi, November 19, 2000


Publishers Weekly, August 23, 1999

ERUPTIONS is a dreamy, sensual collection of impressionistic stories by Italian writer and painter Monica Sarsini, trans. by Maryann De Julio. Sarsini builds her tales more from thematically linked imagery than conventional narrative structure. Eight pieces have titles such as “taste,” “dolce” and “touch,” which signpost the general area of exploration to come. “Nero” (black) begins: “Black. The pen with which I write and the ink that I use. My hair,” This strain of poetic, associative ponderings is earthy, lush and brainy throughout.


The Midwest Book Review, March 2000

Eruptions is a collection of Florentine writer and multimedia artist Monica Sarsini’s short fiction, ably translated and with an informative introduction by Maryann De Julio. All of the stories are sensual explorations in Sarsini's distinctive experimental and narrative style. These impressionistic short stories evidence a lyric, poetic, sensual flair for observation and expression. Eruptions is highly recommended reading for those with a taste for the unique, distinctive, creative, avant garde writing.


BOMB, Spring 2000
Reviewed by Barry Schwabsky

The pre-Socratic philosopher Democritus maintained that “Bitter and sweet are opinions, color is an opinion, in truth there are atoms and the void.” In that sense, Eruptions can be described as a book of opinions. Here's what sweet is like in this book: “the smell of steaming earth, of a piece of plastic shriveled up in an ashtray, of a barrel of uncovered anchovies in the market, of the sea gagged with hair, the smell of feet and blessed rosemary bread mixed together.” Monica Sarsini is one of the most poignant, alluring unforgettable voices in contemporary fiction. And it's got to be all that, because almost all that's left of “fiction” in her work is an unmistakable characteristic voice-that and the particulars of sense experience. She gives us plenty of bitter and sweet in her first book-length publication in English, selected from two books published in Italy in 1985 and 1998.

Her publisher classifies these ruminations on colors, tastes, and touch as short fiction, but Sarsini’s writing could just as easily be thought of as prose poetry or essays that are once systematic and whimsical, lucid and temperamental, encyclopedic yet attenuated. Eruptions is written with all the fervor and fatalism of someone trying moves that were not permitted by the rules of the game when the game is already over"-the phrase comes from a glimpse of a failed love affair that turns up in Sarsini's account of the color black, but it might as well define her approach to writing too.


America Oggi, November 19, 2000
Reviewed by Franco Borelli

Di Monica Sarsini, la De Julio, per conto della newyorkese Italica Press, presenta Eruptions… una stimolante antologia di pagine da “Crepacuore” (Scheiwiller, 1985) e “Crepapelle” (Scheiwiller, 1988), il primo “un libro sui colori,” il secondo “un libro sui sensi.” Racconti (è la manìa dei nostri autori; difficile trovarne da noi, infatti, uno\a che nel genere non si sia cimentato\a) multimediali e contemporanei, sorta d'esplorazione, sperimentazione narrativa focalizzata, anche per stile, della realtà dei nostri giorni. La parola della Sarsmi è assai vicina al colore, non a caso lei è anche pittrice; un modo di trattar cose e sentimenti e persone che ti si fissano dentro per vie si convenzionali, ma che finiscono col librarsi poi in atmosfere e soluzioni che tradizionali non sono affatto. Pagine, se vogliamo, anche metafisiche e (apparantemente) lontane dal reale, ma ad esso assai vicine invece e dotate d’una grazia che riesce a coinvolgere ed affascinare.





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