Blameless Claudio Magris, Anne Milano Appel

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
06 Jun 2017
Yale University Press
368 pages: 197 x 127 x 29mm


From one of Europe’s most revered authors, a tale of one man’s obsessive project to collect the instruments of death, evil, and humanity’s darkest atrocities in order to oppose them

Claudio Magris’s searing new novel ruthlessly confronts the human obsession with war and its savagery in every age and every country. His tale centers on a man whose maniacal devotion to the creation of a Museum of War involves both a horrible secret and the hope of redemption. Luisa Brooks, his museum’s curator, a descendant of victims of Jewish exile and of black slavery, has a complex dilemma: will the collections she exhibits save humanity from repeating its tragic and violent past? Or might the display of articles of war actually valorize and memorialize evil atrocities?
 In Blameless Magris affirms his mastery of the novel form, interweaving multiple themes and traveling deftly through history. With a multitude of stories, the author investigates individual sorrow, the societal burden of justice aborted, and the ways in which memory and historical evidence are sabotaged or sometimes salvaged.

Claudio Magris, professor emeritus of modern German literature, University of Trieste, is a recipient of the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels, the FIL Prize Guadalajara, and the Kafka Prize among scores of other literary awards. His best-selling novel Danube has been translated into twenty-eight languages. Anne Milano Appel, an award-winning translator, recently received the Italian Prose Translation Award.

“Through an accumulation of devastating details . . . Magris examines war as a universal force that pervades history and the very specific horror that enveloped his home city of Trieste after WWII. . . . Like war itself, this novel reveals its ineffable mysteries though it resists being understood too easily.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[A] richly enjoyable writer . . . The prose gallops but demands that you read it slowly and thoughtfully, the author’s intelligence being resistant to summary.”—Allan Massie, Wall Street Journal

“What [Blameless] takes on to accomplish is a staggering revision of how we see ourselves and the future . . . and just in the nick of time. We need this book very badly.”—Michael Silverblatt, Bookworm

“Admirers of Magris’ contemporary classic Danube will recognize the headlong advance of his prose in Blameless—discursive, allusive, the tone flat or neutral, then the pitch—and the stakes—suddenly raised.”—Ron Slate, On the Seawall