Indian Nocturne

Fiction

Antonio Tabucchi
translated by Tim Parks

Antonio Tabucchi describes his novella Indian Nocturne (winner of the Médicis Prize in its French translation) as "an insomnia" but also a journey... in which a Shadow is sought." In his provocatively elusive but totally compelling way, Tabucchi takes us along on a nightmarish trip through the Indian subcontinent, producing sensations by turns exotic, sensual, menacing, and oppressive, as the profound weight of an ancient culture settles on the unwary traveler. A doctor warns the nameless narrator: "A lot of people lose their way in India... it's a country specially made for that." At the end of the journey, it's for the reader to decide if the narrator did in fact lose his way — or perhaps find it. Tabucchi's stories, published by New Directions in two earlier collections, Letter from Casablanca and Little Misunderstandings of No Importance, have been called "triumphs of nuance and suggestion" (Chicago Tribune) and praised as "meticulously crafted... marked by wit, emotion, memory, and lost grandeur" (Publishers Weekly).