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Arduino Gherarducci is the latest in the family line of bald men with ornate combovers. Some combed their hair from one side of the head to the other, some weaved the remnants of their hair together in the middle, but Arduino favors the imperial style of Julius Caesar: forwards, with a fringe. Although fiercely proud of his combover, it has some serious drawbacks. A sudden gust of wind, or a malevolent prankster, could ruin it at any moment. When the worst happens, Arduino decides to abandon his comfortable university life, as a professor of bibliographic data exchange formats, and he heads toward freedom: Lapland. But he only makes it as far as a mountaintop in Le Marche, where he sets himself up as a hermit and his life takes an unexpected turn…

A hilariously dark tale in the tradition of César Aira, The Combover confirms Bravi’s unique status among Italian contemporary writers.

Translated from Italian by Richard Dixon
Published 19 November 2013
Originally published by Edizioni Nottetempo
~140 pages, 9781911420712

"With the skill of a spider, Bravi weaves stories that appear translucent; readers fall into them like flies, finding that there is a fierce, formidable writer at their center. The Combover is a small masterpiece." —Alberto Manguel

"Bravi’s book is quizzical in the best sense of the word; its intrigue as a novel lies in its un-decidability: it is both light and grim. Its sheer neuroticism and darkness are sometimes masked by its humour, but if they are behind trees on your first read, they will surely trail you out of it, loop back, snarl, and stalk you brazenly in the second." —Natalie Helberg, Numéro Cinq

Adrián N. Bravi was born in San Fernando, Buenos Aires, and lives in Italy. He works as both a librarian and writer, and he has published a number of successful novels in both Spanish and Italian. He also contributes to various literary magazines and has co-hosted Fahrenheit, a popular Italian radio program.

News about Adrián Bravi
» Strange Italian worlds. Vulpes Libris on Ruotolo & Bravi (& ebooks)

“This is a strange, haunting oddity, with nagging questions about why we choose the hairstyle we do [. . .] These are stories with characters that will not leave you, and will return at the slightest mention of a gold brooch, or a goalpost, or even a broken radio.”

You can read the rest of the review here.

» @BLBookReviews on The Combover: "Adrian Bravi’s prose is original and engaging..."

“Adrian Bravi’s prose is original and engaging, and full credit goes to translator Richard Dixon. . . The Combover by Adrian Bravi contains more depth and darkness than one might expect from its title. I would recommend it to those who find intrigue in the unusual.”

You can read the rest of the review here.

» @TypoEra on The Combover: "Extremely amusing, yet also strangely unsettling."

“Through his his quirky protagonist Gherarducci he questions the unique father-son bond that often manifests itself in wholly unexpected ways and wonders why some children wildly rebel against their parents while others fiercely bond with them. He also asks if a life of solitude is really preferable over one filled with the joy that only lasting, meaningful connections with others can bring. Perhaps most importantly however, Bravi questions whether or not those personal hang-ups we each cling to oh-so-tightly are really as important as we believe them to be in our twisted little brains.”

Read the rest of the review here.

» Surface, Deep, and Collective Structure: The Combover by Adrian N. Bravi

“The ways Arduino resolves his living dilemma makes for a very interesting short novel. I enjoyed reading it and recommend The Combover to readers who like to identify with interesting characters and explore their own levels of existence.”

You can read the rest of the review here.

» Caves and The Void: Review of The Combover by Adrián N. Bravi

“Adrián Bravi insists you look over your shoulder and squint until your eyes bleed. His most recent novel, The Combover, originally published in Italian as Il riporto (2011), is a swamp—its narrative at once as rich, as eldritch, as pedestrian and unspectacular—whose subtle, insidious suck will have you half-metabolized before you recognize it for what it is. Its gutters, its digressions, are quick, bright black, flaring, and, like a mix of flies and charading fireflies clustering over a corpse, if not easily missed, then perhaps too easily dis-missed: They are the crux of this work’s mesmerism, mechanism and generosity.”

You can read the rest of the review here.

» Italian book-trailers for The Combover