When I heard that this was coming out a couple of years ago, I was thrilled to hear that an edition of Tozzi's stories was finally being produced in English translation. And having just received it, I am not disappointed. Minna Proctor does a phenomenal job with her translations, making them both fluid and faithful to the atmosphere generated in the originals. As the title implies, the majority of the stories revolve around love, but, where Tozzi is concerned, that definition is quite broad, ranging from conjugal and hyper-romanticized to nebulous and bizarre (i.e. "Pigionali" ["Boardinghouse"], one of my favorites).
Like Kafka, Walser and Buchner, Tozzi's internal conflicts between his own identity, sense of self-worth, and how these fit (or not) into the greater whole of humanity immediately comes to the forefront of many stories in this collection. In my eyes, only Buchner's "Woyzeck" feels as anachronistic as Tozzi's best, most passionate stories, totally out of step with the literary style of his peers and having a profound impact on the post-WW2 generation of Italian writers, like Moravia, Brancati, Berto, etc.
I'm also very thankful for Proctor's extensive introduction to the book, which provides vital biographical information on a writer not often included in literary reference texts, even those dealing specifically with early 20th-century Italian fiction. As Proctor states, much of this undoubtedly has to do with the constant use of the "provincial" label to describe, or belittle, his body of work. Perhaps this will counteract that misconception. One can only hope that New Directions or another publisher produces English translations of his longer works, especially RICORDI DI UN IMPIEGATO ("Journal of a Clerk", out-of-print in english for fifty years and a personal favorite), TRE CROCI ("Three Crosses", out-of-print since its initial release in the mid 1920's), IL PODERE (never translated), and CON GLI OCCHI CHIUSI ("Eyes Shut" and "Ghisola", two different translations of his first book.) In the meantime, Proctor and New Directions has given us this beautiful compilation to enjoy.