Saturday 25 September 2010

On, On and Onwards

Yesterday books 106 and 107 for 2010 went to press. It's an insane number of titles for a small company to handle – a company who claims to put its focus on quality as opposed to quantity. However, the books we signed off yesterday were truly special.

The first one is Lampedusa's Letters from London and Europe, a project that has kept me busy, and at times sleepless, over the past couple of months. It's going to be a gem of a volume, full of unpublished texts and photographs, printed on Arctic paper to the highest standards. We already have half a dozen high-profile features and reviews lined up – and I am very much looking forward to the launch of the book at the Italian Institute in London on 18th October, when Francesco da Mosto will talk about it in conversation with prize-winning author Ian Thomson.

With a sigh of relief I should also add that this is the last Alma book for 2010.

The second title we sent to the printers is Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground. Without a doubt, it is the novel I have read more times than any other work of fiction – maybe seven or eight times? This is the second translation of it I have commissioned (the first being the Hesperus edition), and it is the book I have most given out as a present – especially to girlfriends (er, including Elisabetta!). There must be at least a dozen copies of the Mondadori edition with my dedication sitting on shelves the world over.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" – and constantly swept into the future . . .

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