by Nicola Pugliese. Translator: Shaun Whiteside

After a four-day deluge, Naples is flooded. Buildings collapse, sinkholes appear. Strange events spread across the city: ghostly voices emanate from a medieval castle and five-lire coins begin to play music, but only to ten-year-old children. A melancholy journalist searches for meaning as the narrative takes us into the minds of those who have suffered in the floods.

Despite phenomenal initial success, the novel was withdrawn from publication at the author’s request, and not reissued until after his death in 2012. Now translated into English for the first time, Malacqua remains a timely critique and a richly peopled portrait of a much-mythologised city.


‘A lyrical, caustic and highly fantastical imagining of a Naples beset by a biblical deluge . . . Malacqua is a beguiling portrait of a fractured city, with its jostle of voices and competing desires.’ - Toby Lichtig, Wall Street Journal

‘Nicola Pugliese was a writer who challenged the clichéd view of Naples as a city of gangsters, mandolins and “O Sole Mio” . . . His fiaba vesuviana (Vesuvian fairytale), superbly translated by Shaun Whiteside, is a beautiful and haunting exploration of life at a meteorological extreme.’ - Ian Thomson, The Financial Times



Publication Date

November 2017


Malacqua on the And Other Stories website