Diego Marani’s new novel, ‘The Last of the Vostyachs’, is an Italian translation that should not be missed…
The Last of the Vostyachs
by Diego Marani, Dedalus Books£9.99 (paperback)
Some of you may have already heard of Diego Marani. His last novel New Finnish Grammar has been a runaway cult success, and rightly so – with its deeply lyrical, yet gripping, style of writing captivating booksellers across the UK. Here, Marani again uses his insight into the world of linguistics (he works for the European Union in Brussels) to craft the story of an imaginary tribe whose language is kept alive by one solitary speaker. Ivan – whose father was killed in front of him at the hands of a brutal Siberian soldier – survives atrocities before meeting Olga, who wishes to document his unusual language. Ivan’s consequential move into the developed world provides a brilliant perspective on the absurdities of modern life. For Italian fiction in translation, there is nobody more important being published today. This is a beautiful, intelligently funny novel.