BOOKS – Calvino literary prize,
special mention for Enrico Fink

More than 800 manuscripts were in the running for the 37th edition of the Italo Calvino Prize, the most important prize for unpublished fiction in Italy. Founded by a group including philosopher Norberto Bobbio, the literary critic Cesare Cases, the musicologist Massimo Mila and writers Lalla Romano and Natalia Ginzburg, the award recognizes excellence in writing. This year, a special mention went to a Jewish-themed work: Patrilineare by the artist Enrico Fink, director of the Balagan Café in Florence and president of the local Jewish Community.
“In tones oscillating between the intensity of memory and comedy, it develops flautist Elias’s realization of his Jewishness,” noted the Calvino prize jury. “Before our eyes the stories of the Fink and Bassani families unfold between Gorizia, Ferrara and Florence. At the end, Elias picks up the baton and, through an adventurous circumcision and a bizarre Bar Mitzvah in a disco, decides to become a Jew and a cantor, in a contemporary version of what his Ukrainian paternal great-grandfather had been.”