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Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto


Translated by Antony Shugaar
Illustrations by Federico Maggioni

When we first meet Baron Lamberto (age ninety-three), he is very rich and very ill. He owns twenty-four banks and has been diagnosed with twenty-four serious ailments: only his butler Anselmo remembers them all.

On the advice of an Egyptian sage, Lamberto hires a group of servants to repeat his name over and over and over. It’s a recipe, he’s told, for eternal life…. surprisingly, it works.

Lamberto’s newfound youth, however, is put at risk when a terrorist group lays siege to the Baron’s villa on the island of San Giulio in the mountains near Lake Orta. The Baron’s army of bank directors are summoned to pay a huge ransom, and an international media spectacle is born as the bankers and Baron Lamberto negotiate with the bandits. Lamberto becomes the first casualty—but the celebrity funeral that follows becomes the first funeral in history with a happy ending…

Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto is an adroit, witty, and poignant reflection on what happens when terrorism strikes. But it’s also a fantastic tale: Our beloved Lamberto eventually springs back against impossible odds. There are things, writes Rodari, “that only happen once.” In fact, “there are things that only happen in fairytales.”

GIANNI RODARI (October 23,1920–April 14,1980) was an Italian writer and journalist, most famous for his books for children. The recipient of Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1970, Rodari is a household name in Italyamong educators and parents, not to mention children, and is considered by many literary historians to be the country’s most important writer of children’s literature in the twentieth century. Influenced by French surrealism and linguistics, Rodari advocated poetry and language play as a way to recover the rhythm and sound of oral tradition and nursery rhymes. He is the author of The Grammar of Fantasy, a classic manual for teachers, as well as many books for children.

ANTONY SHUGAAR is an author and translator. Among his recent translations are Everybody’s Right by Paolo Sorrentino, Bandit Love by Massimo Carlotto, and Sandokan by Nanni Balestrini

“If Roald Dahl had rewritten The Picture of Dorian Gray to include a gang of 24 bandits and a giant balloon, the result might have been Rodari’s wonderfully improbable novel…” Publishers Weekly

“Lamberto belongs to that family of comic writing that glories in the full spectrum of the absurd.” LA Review of Books

“If you are looking for a book that transports you, that contains details you will return to for years to come, and that you may, someday, give to your children, it’s this one.” The Lit Pub

“Stuffed with amusing characters and off-the-wall events, Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto evokes a texturally rich setting that skillfully weaves together satire and fantasy. You’d be hard-pressed not to enjoy this young adult fairy tale from Italy.” Fiction Advocate

“Making a comedy out of a terrorist kidnapping is tricky stuff, but this book for both children and adults is a daring high-wire act that works.” —Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness

It may seem like grisly stuff for a children’s book, but Rodari mixes magic with terrorists and tabloids and manages to come out with something altogether wonderful, and sure to please young and old alike.” —Flavorwire‘s 10 New Must-Reads for December

“Give yourself up to this insightful tour guide, and you might just find yourself confronting the absurdities of your own life.” New York Journal of Books

“Rodari’s story is, to say the least, unpredictable…” The Complete Review

Absurdities abound but never overwhelm, this is satire of the highest order.” —Largehearted Boy

“Hilarity ensues in a story that retains the wonder and delight of Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.” Barnes and Noble Review (Long List pick)


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