Kaputt (New York Review Books Classics)
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Curzio Malaparte was a disaffected supporter of Mussolini with a taste for danger and high living. Sent by an Italian paper during World War II to cover the fighting on the Eastern Front, Malaparte secretly wrote this terrifying report from the abyss, which became an international bestseller when it was published after the war. Telling of the siege of Leningrad, of glittering dinner parties with Nazi leaders, and of trains disgorging bodies in war-devastated Romania, Malaparte paints a picture of humanity at its most depraved.
Kaputt is an insider's dispatch from the world of the enemy that is as hypnotically fascinating as it is disturbing.
storm of black glistening wings, the caddies drop the bags on the grass and wave their hands before their faces, and the old Roman princesses nee Smith, Brown and Samuel, the solemn dowagers, the old D'Annunzio beauties strolling on the fairway, flee as they flail the air with their hands and silver-handled canes. "The flies!" screamed Marita jumping to her feet. Everybody laughed and Marita said, "You can laugh, but I am afraid of flies!" "Marita is right," Filippo Anfuso said, "flies bring
with a deep curtsy, that, to my mild astonishment, was not lacking in grace. The knife remained stuck in the deer's back, next to the little red flag with the black swastika, and I confess that the sight of that knife and that flag implanted in the back of the noble animal gave me an uncomfortable feeling with which was mixed a subtle sense of horror as the conversation of the guests, little by little drifted back to ghettos and Jews. Governor Fischer, as a golden rain of gravy dripped from a
the synagogue, wrote out the death certificate and handed the document to Sartori, who folded it with care and put it in his wallet. A train whistled in the distance. A bluebottle buzzed around the inkstand. "I regret very much that I have to go," said Sartori, "but I must be back in Jassy before night." "Please wait a moment," one of the board of the Agricultural Bank said in Italian. He was a short, fat Jew with a Napoleon III goatee. He opened a little cupboard, took out a bottle of
whenever I chance to read those two magic words, Linguaphone Institute, I think of the Finnish winter, the ghostly forests and the frozen lakes of Finland. Whenever I happen to hear the Linguaphone records mentioned, I close my eyes and see my friend Jaakko Leppo, thickset and fat, laced in the uniform of a Finnish captain; I see his round, pale face with high cheekbones, his small suspicious eyes, those slanting eyes of his, full of a cold gray light. I see my friend Jaakko Leppo, a glass in
commented on the most minute and, apparently, the most trivial details of the revolution and of the Civil War—the color of the sky at a certain hour on a certain day, the musical note of a fountain, the rustling of the wind among the leaves of trees, the echo of a rifle firing in a neighboring street, the paleness, the arrogance, the pity, the fear, the cynicism, the treachery, the hypocrisy and the selfishness of bishops, generals, politicians, courtiers, gentlemen, syndicalist leaders,