Rombo by Esther Kinsky

Rombo by Esther Kinsky

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In May and September 1976, two earthquakes ripped through north-eastern Italy, causing severe damage to the landscape and its population. About a thousand people died under the rubble, tens of thousands were left without shelter, and many ended up leaving their homes in Friuli forever.

The displacement of material as a result of the earthquakes was enormous. New terrain was formed that reflects the force of the catastrophe and captures the fundamentals of natural history. But it is far more difficult to find expression for the human trauma, the experience of an abruptly shattered existence.

In Rombo, Esther Kinsky’s sublime new novel, seven inhabitants of a remote mountain village talk about their lives, which have been deeply impacted by the earthquake that has left marks they are slowly learning to name. From the shared experience of fear and loss, the threads of individual memory soon unravel and become haunting and moving narratives of a deep trauma.


"In Kinsky’s novel, the land speaks...Kinsky expertly animates the natural world around her while removing her human hand. Kinsky lets nature uphold its own intractable logic… If trauma is the inability to redescribe, Rombo offers a powerful antidote in language and the infinite possibilities of description; like the trembling Friulian landscape, forever writing itself anew."—Financial Times

"A tragic travelogue to the underworld-turned-world that recasts a newly lost Italian past with a climate-wise chorus straight out of the most harrowing Greek drama."
Joshua Cohen, author of The Netanyahus

"In Esther Kinsky’s new novel, language becomes the highest form of compassion and solidarity – not only with us human beings, but with the whole world, organic, non-organic, speaking out with many mouths and living voices. A miracle of a book; should be shining when it gets dark."— Maria Stepanova, author of In Memory of Memory

Paperback with French flaps
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
ISBN: 978-1804270035
Pages: 232