23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Andrea Canobbio
© Pietro Canobbio

Andrea Canobbio

The Italian writer and translator Andrea Canobbio was born in Turin in 1962 and graduated with a degree from the economics department at the University of Turin.

Canobbio made his literary debut in 1986 with a collection of stories titled »Diario del centro« (tr. Diary of the center) and went on to work as a literary editor. In 1989, he published his first novel, »Vasi cinesi« (tr. China vases), which comprises twelve stories portraying a kaleidoscope of different thematic episodes, much like twelve Ming vases with different patterns of flowers, birds and dragons. Critics deemed the novel to be a successor to Borges and Calvino. In 2004, Canobbio published »Il naturale disordine delle cose« (2004; Eng. »The Natural Disorder of Things«, 2006), in which the life of landscape designer Claudio Fratta spirals out of control after he witnesses a murder on a supermarket parking lot. On his quest to find the alleged perpetrator, he makes the acquaintance of the Pope and comes into contact with the world of drugs and serious crime. In this novel, Canobbio complements the exciting, mathematically precise framework of his plot with a »thrilling, cool eroticism« (»Süddeutsche Zeitung«). Passionate feelings of love, power and betrayal also play a key role. He also goes beyond the portrayal of a family history to take a critical look at modern-day Italy with all of its political frictions and upheavals. Canobbio’s most recent novel, »Tre anni luce« (2013; Eng. »Three Light Years«, 2014) focuses on the love story between Claudio, a shy doctor, and Cecilia, also a physician. Claudio is a lethargic man in his early forties who doesn’t like making decisions and lives in the same apartment building as his mother. Only after considerable hesitation is he able to confess his love for Cecilia, who proves to be just as reticent as he. Matters are complicated by a liaison between Claudio and Cecilia’s sister. It therefore takes three years before Claudio’s love for Cecilia becomes a reality. Canobbio depicts events from the alternating perspectives of the individuals involved in the love triangle, so that it becomes not just one but three love stories. He skillfully captures his characters’ different perceptions and their delicate attempts to get closer to one another. »Kirkus Reviews« praised the novel as a »affecting depiction of the urgency of love and the inherent madness that so often comes with it«.

In 1990, Canobbio was awarded the Premio Grinzane Cavour as well as the Premio Mondello for »Vasi cinesi«. Several of his novels have been translated into English and French. Since 1995, he has worked as editor-in-chief for international literature at Einaudi. The author lives in Turin.


Vasi cinesi
Turin, 1989
Turin, 1992
Padri di padri
Turin, 1997
Mailand, 2000
Der Garten
Reinbek, 2005
[Ü: Annette Kopetzki]
Rom, 2007
Rom, 2011
Drei Lichtjahre
Reinbek, 2017
[Ü: Annette Kopetzki]