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May 10 , 2009

Cocaine

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Named Library Journal Best Fiction in Translation 2013.

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Cocaine's Son

With sharp wit, self-deprecating humor, and penetrating honesty, New York Times journalist Dave Itzkoff turns a keen eye on his life with the mysterious, maddening, much-loved man of whom he writes, “for the first eight years of my life I seem to have believed he was the product of my imagination.” Itzkoff’s father was the man who…

"Cocaine is a brilliant black comedy that belongs on the same shelf as Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies and Dawn Powell's The Wicked Pavilion. Pitigrilli is an acidic aphorist and a wicked observer of social folly."-Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and Brightness Falls

"Pitigrilli was an enjoyable writer-spicy and rapid-like lightning."-Umberto Eco


“The name of the author Pitigrilli … is so well known in Italy as to be almost a byword for ‘naughtiness’ … The only wonder to us is that some enterprising translator did not render some of his books available in English sooner.”
– The New York Times,

Paris in the 1920s-dizzy and decadent. Where a young man can make a fortune with his wits . . . unless he is led into temptation. Cocaine's dandified hero Tito Arnaudi invents lurid scandals and gruesome deaths, and sells these stories to the newspapers. But his own life becomes even more outrageous than his press reports when he acquires three demanding mistresses. Elegant, witty, and wicked, Pitigrilli's classic novel was first published in Italian in 1921 and charts the comedy and tragedy of a young man's downfall and the lure of a bygone era. The novel's descriptions of sex and drug use prompted church authorities to place it on a list of forbidden books. Cocaine retains its venom even today.

Pitigrilli was the pen name of Dino Segre, born in Turin in 1893. He worked as a foreign correspondent in Paris during the 1920s, and became equally celebrated and notorious for a series of audacious and subversive books. He died in 1975.

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