Dino Buzzati, the miniaturist who will make you squirm

Date Published: August 4, 2023

Another guest reviewer, thank you to Kenny for subjecting himself to the existential angst of Dino Buzzati and his troubling short stories! If this review puts you off then I am frankly not surprised, but just in case

book cover for Catastrophe by Dino Buzzati

This is a challenging book of short stories to review, as to do it justice would mean revealing the punchlines and spoilers, so I’ll go for the broad sweep approach. If you are someone who has ever
woken from a bad dream with an unspeakable and unidentifiable feeling of anxiety or dread, or that you’ve a sense that something negative is just around the corner or long overdue, then these stories
will resonate deeply with you. Often the tales involve a seemingly initial innocuous event or action by the character but these have unseen and usually deeply worrying consequences.

In Buzzati’s writing the lack of accurate information and detail about what’s happening to the characters’ worlds leave us and them perplexed, frightened and often with a sense of real existential angst.   Buzzati’s genius is to combine all this in scenarios and characters we can all relate to and believe. It is an unforgettable (used advisedly) series of stories that peel back our smiling positive attitudes to a world that is barely under anyone’s control.

Buzzati was also a surrealist painter and illustrator; indeed he considered himself a painter who dabbled in writing. However, the world saw him as a writer who dabbled in painting, and he bemoaned the fact that his art wasn’t taken as seriously as his novels and short stories.

To me, painting is not a hobby, but a job – writing is my hobby. But painting and writing are ultimately the same thing for me. Whether I write or paint, I pursue the same goal -telling stories“.

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