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The Parrots [Hardcover]

Filippo Bologna , Howard Curtis

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Book Description

July 4 2013
Three men are preparing to do battle. Their goal is a prestigious literary prize. And each man will do anything to win it. For the young Beginner, loved by critics more than readers, it means fame. For The Master, old, exhausted, preoccupied with his prostate, it means money. And for The Writer-successful, vain and in his prime-it is a matter of life and death. As the rivals lie, cheat and plot their way to victory, their paths crossing with ex-wives, angry girlfriends, preening publishers and a strange black parrot, the day of the Prize Ceremony takes on a far darker significance than they could have imagined.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pushkin Press; Reprint edition (July 4 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908968192
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908968197
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 581 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,243,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"This very funny satire about the stuffy little world of literature could be set anywhere... It's a hoot, written with a shrewd eye for the absurdity of certain literary egos." The Times

"A five-star satire on literary vanity ... A wonderful, surprising novel with a rich payload of emotion behind the caricature." - Metro

"Very funny ... lucidly translated." - Lucy Popescu, Huffington Post

"[Bologna's] smart new novel ... [has a] smooth, knowing narrator ... shrewd and precise, often comic, with a cool eye for the truth of these characters', Daniel Hahn, Independent

"A satire of Swiftian rancour... the parrots of the title act as apt metaphors for the endless churn of appropriation and pastiche that passes for literary originality... Bologna has a gift, preserved in Howard Curtis's crisp translation, for the comically jolting simile." - Nat Segnit, TLS

"A scathing satire about the murky world of Italy's prestigious literary awards... Bologna paints a comically grim picture of a culture of back-stabbing and deceit." Financial Times

"Tacks between high literary majesty and good hard slapstick without ever capsizing... scintillating... that rarest of books: a damn decent novel about writers... terrific." - Samuel Ashworth, Brooklyn Rail

About the Author

Filippo Bologna was born in Tuscany in 1978. He lives in Rome where he works as a writer and screenwriter. His debut novel How I Lost the War is also published by Pushkin Press.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wild Aviary Sept. 14 2013
By propertius - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This satiric little novel should appeal to those with a particular interest in the literary world, not in terms of "art" but rather in terms of ego and mercantile concerns. There can be no more different characters then the three candidates for the unnamed literary prize. The old Master who wants to grab the brass ring before dying. The Writer, who wants fortune more than fame, and has a nasty little secret. And The Beginner who seeks affirmation of his greatness.

The machinations they endure to attain the prize and the outcome which gives them each what they deserve if not want, will not have you guffawing, but will make you smile at the ways of the muses and especially fate. As I said the reader must have at least a modicum of interest in the publishing world to enjoy this book, printed alas on my Kindle reader, and not superior stock as the Master would have wished.

Much like "The Invisible Player" by Giuseppe Pontiggia, which deals with academia "The Parrots" takes you through the souls of writers who we see as rather venal men.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three candidates - one glittering prize. Jan. 8 2014
By Sue Kichenside - Published on
The setting is Rome and there are three authors up for a prestigious literary prize. They are not named (no-one is named in the book). Instead they are termed The Beginner, The Writer and The Master. Each is desperate to win the award for his own spurious reasons.

This is a neat idea for a plot but rather spoiled by over-stylised writing which is just a little too pleased with itself. What might have been a biting satire on the place of awards in the arts instead emerges as little more than a smug exercise in modern writing. And what was with the parrot?

Regrettably, this book turned out to have more beak than bite. But here's the thing with translations: is it the author's failing or the translator's? Without the ability to read the original, it's impossible to know for sure.

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