COCAINE by Pitigrilli, translated by Eric Mosbacher


COCAINE by Pitigrilli, translated by Eric Mosbacher


~74,000 WORDS
New Vessel Press

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Paris in the 1920s – dizzy and decadent. Where a young man can make a fortune with his wits … unless he is led into temptation. Cocaine’s dandified hero Tito Arnaudi invents lurid scandals and gruesome deaths, and sells these stories to the newspapers. But his own life becomes even more outrageous than his press reports when he acquires three demanding mistresses. Elegant, witty and wicked, Pitigrilli’s classic novel was first published in Italian in 1921 and charts the comedy and tragedy of a young man’s downfall and the lure of a bygone era. The novel’s descriptions of sex and drug use prompted church authorities to place it on a list of forbidden books, while appealing to filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder who wrote a script based on the tale. Cocaine retains its venom even today.

“The name of the author Pitigrilli … is so well known in Italy as to be almost a byword for ‘naughtiness’ … The only wonder to us is that some enterprising translator did not render some of his books available in English sooner.” — The New York Times

“Pitigrilli … deserves rehabilitation. His bleak and brilliant satire, lush and intoxicating prose, and sadistic playfulness remain as fresh and caustic as they were nine decades ago. His tragic vision of the human condition, expressed through ironic wit and eloquences, distinguishes the great literature of any era.” — The Arts Fuse

“Cocaine is a brilliant black comedy that belongs on the same shelf as Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies and Dawn Powell’s The Wicked Pavilion. Pitigrilli is an acidic aphorist and a wicked observer of social folly.” — Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and Brightness Falls

“Pitigrilli was an enjoyable writer – spicy and rapid – like lightning.” — Umberto Eco

“Pitigrilli is a highly emblematic forgotten figure, a poète maudit of Italy of the 1920s; his cynical comic satire describes the disillusioned world that followed World War I and proved fertile for the triumph of fascism.” — Alexander Stille


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