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The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati
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The Tartar Steppe (1940)

by Dino Buzzati

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» See also 75 mentions

English (18)  Italian (7)  Spanish (6)  French (3)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
L'abitudine e l'abituarsi ad essa che uccide i sogni di ogni uomo, l'inganno di pensare di riuscire a continuare a sognare. ( )
  AlessandraEtFabio | Dec 22, 2017 |
This book by Italian author Buzzati, written during the fascist regime, is on the list of 1001 books to be read before you die and has been compared to Kafka. That comparison may have been made because the plot involves some Kafkaesque bureacratic snafus. However, the book is not bleak, despairing or absurdist. I'm not a fan of Kafka, and I enjoyed The Tartar Steppe.

A young soldier is sent to a remote fort overlooking a vast, empty steppe. Life is monotonous; the soldiers, in fact, look forward to, and sometimes imagine, invaders appearing on the horizon. Although the soldier at first intended to seek reassignment to a more central location as soon as possible, years pass, and he finds he lacks the will to leave--his life in town, the people he knew, no longer exist for him.

This is a puzzling book, but by no means boring or dense. I loved the descriptions of the lonely steppe and the quiet and solitude. ( )
1 vote arubabookwoman | Apr 25, 2017 |
As said in other reviews, young Drogo is stationed at a remote post high in the mountains where he seems to be the only soldier not there by choice. Told he may be transferred on medical grounds after a few months, he nonetheless chooses to remain at the Fort. There is after all a chance of invasion, the hope of a battle in which he would attain glory. And, more and more, the punctilious routine the soldiers must follow makes each day like every other day and hence like one long day offering the prospect of an almost infinite future.

On his infrequent leaves Drogo finds that those who had been close to him are preoccupied with church, jobs, families. It's really only at the Fort that he has a place and only there that he has hope. During one trip to the city he makes his only attempt to get a transfer, but as he returns thwarted to his duty the disappointment and bitterness he feels aren't unadulterated; seeing the Fort again, he feels relief. Nor do the disillusioning revelations his mentor offers shortly afterward destroy his hope.

The descriptions of the landscape in this book are outstanding: the Fort, surrounded by mountains and the misty wilderness of stones and scrub across which Tartars are said to have swept, is almost like an unknown Boecklin painting. And Buzzati's treatment of the passage of time--the journey to the shores of the leaden sea--is pitilessly and frighteningly honest.

It's too bad that Canongate didn't commission a new translation; it's a shame that an editor didn't give this translation the treatment it deserves. Buzzati was a reporter and editor and I don't think for a moment that the Italian had the clangers in grammar and diction the English does. This isn't nit-picking; while the book isn't littered with errors, it's scattered with them, and they interrupt a smooth reading. A bit like listening to a beautiful song sporadically interrupted by the singer's hiccups, I suppose. I'm sure I'll read this book several times, but I hope I'll be reading a different edition. Great cover, though.
1 vote bluepiano | Dec 30, 2016 |
Hay que tener muy claro el año en el que está escrita la novela: 1940, en plena dictadura de Mussolini en Italia, quien andaba enfrascado en guerras coloniales en África, en las cuales ejerció nuestro autor, Dino Buzzati, de corresponsal. Esa amenaza latente en la novela de unos tártaros, que en cualquier momento pueden aparecer con ánimo belicoso, vislumbra una crítica velada al ambiente fascista y hostil imperante en ese momento.

Además de ese espíritu antifascista, podemos observar una clara influencia de Kafka , pero también está imbuida de la corriente existencialista, como asimismo el surrealismo tiene su presencia en ella, en los extraños y simbólicos sueños de nuestro protagonista: Giovanni Drogo.

Drogo, cuya meta principal es ser oficial: "Ahora era por fin oficial, ya no tenía que consumirse sobre los libros ni temblar con la voz del sargento".

Ya oficial, tiene que despedirse de su madre para incorporarse a la Fortaleza Bastiani; albergando pensamientos que no dejarán de acompañarle a lo largo de la obra: "pesaba una insistente idea, que no conseguía identificar, como un vago presentimiento de cosas fatales, como si estuviera a punto de iniciar un viaje sin retorno"

Dentro de la Fortaleza, la angustia no deja de acompañarle: "Todos allí dentro parecían haber olvidado que en alguna parte del mundo existían flores, mujeres risueñas, casas alegres y hospitalarias. Todo allí dentro era una renuncia"

Ansía marcharse, piensa que serán unos días los que esté en esa "cárcel" como denomina él mismo La Fortaleza: "contemplaba los tétricos muros, sin conseguir descifrar su sentido. Pensó en una cárcel". Le convencen para que esté cuatro meses y cuando llega el momento, pesa la conversación con el doctor que le tiene que expedir un certificado médico para poder irse y decide quedarse: "Yo estoy bien -repitió Drogo, como sin reconocer su propia voz-.Estoy bien y quiero quedarme."

Llega a acomodarse y sentirse bien en su rutina: "Hábito las excursiones con Morel al pueblo menos alejado...una posada donde por fin se veía alguna cara nueva, se preparaban cenas suntuosas y se oían frescas carcajadas de muchachas con las que se podía hacer el amor."

Clave en la novela es el tiempo, que cae como una losa: "Ayer y anteayer eran iguales, no habría ya sabido distinguirlos; un hecho de tres días antes o de veinte acababa pareciéndole igualmente lejano. Así se desarrollaba, sin saberlo él, la huida del tiempo."

Cuando sale de permiso a su hogar se encuentra fuera de lugar, igual que con María, con quien pensaba casarse. No encuentra ningún nexo de unión y el desarraigo hace mella en él.

A pesar de ese pesimismo que rodea la novela, hay alguna pincelada de humor que alivia la trama.

Seguir ahondando en el libro sería desvelar pasajes decisivos en el libro.

El paso del tiempo, la melancolía y la amargura reinante, la soledad, el espacio cerrado y obsesivo, el desarraigo, la falta de decisión , la inútil espera; son algunos de los temas fundamentales que aborda el libro; rico, muy rico en interpretaciones.
( )
  FernandoH | Dec 11, 2016 |
There are very few book descriptions that strike more fear in my heart than "Kafkaesque." Despite the comparison to one of my most disliked authors, I actually did like Dino Buzzati's "The Tartar Steppe."

The novel is the story of Giovanni Drogo, an Italian soldier who is waiting for his life to start as he becomes a solider, waiting for a great war to start to make a name for himself and later, waiting for his life to end after a humdrum existence at an isolated and mostly useless fort.

This could have been the world's most boring story, but I liked the rhythm of it. Buzzati does a great job keeping the thread of the story going without things getting too dull. I probably wouldn't pick this up to read it again, but I definitely didn't mind reading once. ( )
1 vote amerynth | Aug 16, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Buzzati, DinoAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arnaud, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
功, 脇翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benítez, EstherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eckstein, PercyÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hood, Stuart C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jokinen, Ulla-KaarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lipsius, WendlaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ouwendijk, D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sala, AlbericoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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One September morning, Giovanni Drogo, being newly commissioned, set out from the city for Fort Bastiani; it was his first posting.
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Nel giugno 1940, mentre Mussolini dichiarava guerra al mondo, usciva un romanzo del giovane giornalista Dino Buzzati in cui la guerra si attendeva, invano, nella speranza che desse un senso al destino degli ufficiali e dei soldati mandati a presidiare una fortezza al confine di uno stato imprecisato. Il deserto dei Tartari, disperata parabola sulla vanità dell'esistenza, rischiò così, per un paradosso della storia, di esser contrabbandato per libro guerrafondaio, tanto più che la prima traduzione europea, in tedesco, apparve nel 1942 nella Vienna nazista.
Ma fortunatamente il messaggio del romanzo era troppo netto per dar luogo a equivoci. La Fortezza Bastiani, affacciata su un deserto che secondo una leggenda era stato un tempo sede delle scorrerie delle orde dei Tartari, accoglie il tenente di prima nomina Giovanni Drogo come un incubo concentrazionario accoglie chi lo sogna: circondata dal nulla, al nulla votata nel susseguirsi immobile di giornate tutte uguali, essa diviene il luogo dell'attesa e dello scacco, segnato da un'aura di sommessa ma inscalfibile delusione che finisce per costituire un bastione contro sconfitte e tragedie ben peggiori.
Nonostante abbia ottenuto un trasferimento, Drogo resterà per tutta la vita nella fortezza, spiando i minimi indizi dell'avvicinarsi di un qualunque nemico (e basta anche il più labile e improbabile per farlo resistere altri anni nell'attesa). E quando finalmente il nemico si paleserà, con un esercito in armi, e cannoni, e tutto il necessario, lui sarà ormai troppo vecchio per combattere: verrà perciò spedito nelle retrovie, dove lo coglierà con dolcezza la morte naturale. Una morte liberatoria e consolante, per una vita che non ha voluto, né saputo, essere vita.
(piopas)
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Young Giovanni Drogo arrives at the bleak border area of the Tartar Steppe where he is to take a short assignment at Fort Bastiani, an encampment manned by veteran soldiers who have grown old without seeing a trace of the enemy. As his length of service stretches from months into years, he continues to wait patiently for the enemy to advance across the desert. Despite, or because of, the fact that they tell him he is perfectly free to leave, he waits for one great and glorious endeavour. Internationally acclaimed since its publication in 1945, The Tartar Steppe is a provocative and frightening tale of hope, longing and the terrible sorcery of the magnificent gesture.… (more)

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