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
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.”
Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and Brightness Falls
Pitigrilli was an enjoyable writer spicy and rapid like lightning.”
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 eloquence, distinguishes the great literature of any era.”
Pitigrilli never loses his droll sense of humor, or playful use of language, which ensures this little romp is always a pleasurable one.”
It deals playfully and brutally with provocative issues of promiscuity, prostitution and ecstasy, and remains at its heart filled with pure, romantic longing.”
About the Author
Pitigrilli was the pseudonym of Dino Segre, born in Turin in 1893 to a well-to-do Jewish father and a Catholic mother. He worked as a foreign correspondent in Paris during the 1920s, and under his pen name became equally celebrated and notorious for a series of audacious and subversive books that were translated into sixteen languages. His works are imbued with a sense of amorality; Pitigrilli himself was accused of serving as an informant to the fascist authorities under Mussolini. Il Ducedefended the writer against accusations of perversity, saying: "Pitigrilli is right ... he photographs the times. If society is corrupt, it's not his fault." Pitigrilli fled Italy after the German occupation, living in Switzerland and Argentina, but returned to Turin and converted to Catholicism before his death in 1975.
Eric Mosbacher translated over one hundred works including writings by Ignazio Silone, Giovanni Verga, Leo Perutz, Sigmund Freud, Siegfried Kracauer and Witold Gombrowicz. He lived in London with his wife and translation collaborator, Gwenda David, until his death in 1998.
Alexander Stille is an author and journalist whose books include Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism ; Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic ; and The Sack of Rome.