About The Columnist
March 15, 2005
Audio Interview With the Author
Audio Length: 15 minutes
The Human Body
Paolo Giordano, author of the critically acclaimed international bestseller, The Solitude of Prime Numbers, storms the front-line of literary fiction with his highly-anticipated second novel, THE HUMAN BODY (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking; On-sale: October 6, 2014; $27.95; 9780670015641).
With a beautiful, gut-punching translation by Anne Milano Appel, this inspired story of modern war follows a cast of Italian soldiers stationed in one of the deadliest places on earth—Forward Operating Base (FOB) in the Gulistan district of Afghanistan. Here, under the scorching, inescapable sun, a group of inexperienced soldiers are forced to navigate the irreversible journey from youth into manhood.
In a forthcoming Authorlink AUDIO interview while he is in the U.S. on tour, Paolo Giordano talks about his motivation for setting his second novel in Afghanistan, of the challenges he faces as a successful author, and of why he switched from his field as a particle physicist to a full-time writing career. Revisit this site for the full interivew, to be posted October 15, 2014.
In their own ways, the members in the third platoon, Charlie Company, manage the toxic mix of boredom and fear that is life in a war zone. Brash Cederna shamelessly picks on the virgin Ietri, who spent his last night in Italy sharing a hotel bed with his overbearing mother. First Corporal-Major Torsu spends his waking hours online consumed with his virtual girlfriend whom he’s never actually met. In this male-dominated world, Giulia Zampieri, the only woman in the company, is disciplined and poised, until two of her comrades start vying for her attention. And for some, like medical officer Alessandro Egitto, the FOB serves as an escape from life back home in Italy, one that seems far more dangerous than a war fought with guns. For months, life at the base is a monotonous repetition of drills and activities that keep them sane, leaving the group wondering if they’ll ever see action. But when a much-debated mission goes devastatingly awry, the soldiers find themselves and their lives instantly changed.
Jarring, poignant, and at times darkly comic, THE HUMAN BODY leaves readers to bond with this wonderfully realized band of brothers—a group both innocent and damned. Inspired by Giordano’s two tours in Afghanistan reporting on the war, this heartrending story is ultimately about brotherhood and family, keenly exploring the kinds of war we wage with others and within ourselves. Echoing the great 20th century novels, like Catch-22 and Going After Cacciato, THE HUMAN BODY is a “brilliant addition to the literature of our modern wars” (Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
PAOLO GIORDANO is the author of the critically acclaimed international bestseller The Solitude of Prime Numbers, which has been translated into more than forty languages. He has a PhD in particle physics and is now a full-time writer. He lives in Italy.
“Despite the tragic events, this is a very entertaining novel, with the characters’ innate and passionate sense of the absurdity of their situation, and of life itself, evident in every scene. The fast-paced, present-tense narrative seems to have been translated accurately to capture the nuances of emotion and drama conveyed by the highly intelligent and perceptive Giordano.”
—Library Journal (STARRED)
“Giordano follows The Solitude of Prime Numbers with a stunning exploration of war…. The first page indicates that the platoon’s experience was particularly horrible (“In the years following the mission, each of the guys set out to make his life unrecognizable, until the memories… were bathed in a false artificial light”), but the fact that the mission runs off the rails is almost secondary to the beauty, texture, and acuity with which Giordano captures the day-to-day routines of the soldiers, and their efforts to make sense of both their lives in Italy and their military assignment.”
—Publishers Weekly (STARRED)
“THE HUMAN BODY is a memorable entry in the literature of the Afghan war, the characters crisply drawn and the writing full of telling details.”
THE HUMAN BODY: A Novel
By Paolo Giordano
Pamela Dorman Books /Viking Hardcover / On-Sale: October 6, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-670-01564-1/ Price: $27.95
ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK
Paolo Giordano will be on tour in the U.S. in October 2014, appearing in Atlanta, New York, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle.
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