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Antonio Tabucchi: Il filo dell’orizzonte (The Edge of the Horizon; Vanishing Point)

Spino – Tabucchi says it comes from Spinoza but it is also the Italian for thorn – lives in an Italian port city that is clearly Genoa. An unknown man is killed. In a shoot-out with the police, in which one policeman is seriously wounded, the criminals manage to escape but only after killing one of their number. He has a false ID which identifies him as Carlo Nobodi (the English name is used in Italian but Tabucchi explains it for those of his Italian readers who do not read English, even going so far as to explain that the original name reported – Noboldi – was a mistake). The rest of the book, Spino drifts around – with his journalist friend Corrado, his girlfriend, Sara or on his own – desultorily trying to find out who Nobodi is. But, of course, he is not looking for Nobodi, he is looking for himself for Spino is unsure of who he is and where is he going. And, as the title suggests, he never comes anywhere near a result. This is a low-key book and one that really bears reading several times (the Italian text is only 105 pages) but is interesting as a precursor to Tabucchi’s later work.

Publishing history

First published 1986 by Feltrinelli
First published in English 1993 by New Directions
Translated by Tim Parks