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Category Archives: Allgemein


Prajapati was alone. He didn’t even know whether he existed or not. I too am alone. It’s fairly early in the morning. About 8.30. I am translating a book by an Italian writer called Roberto Calasso. The book is called Ka and amounts to a creative reconstruction of Indian mythology. The lines above are the […]

Hell & Back

“Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” the rich man asks Jesus. “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor,” is the reply, “and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” At which the rich man is sorrowful and turns away. “It is easier,” Jesus remarks to his disciples, “for a […]

Action Please!

The ancients loved action in their stories, and above all violent conflict, which was the testing ground of heroes. Here’s Homer: Then royal Aias in his turn launched his long-shadowed spear. The heavy weapon struck the round shield of Priam’s son. It pierced the gleaming shield, forced its way through the ornate cuirass, and pressing […]


In the autumn of 2004, shortly after his memorable interview with the President of the United States and following the publication of his elder son’s novelised autobiography, cruelly entitled Under His Shadow, celebrity journalist, broadcaster and documentary film-maker Harold Cleaver boarded a British Airways flight from London Gatwick to Milan Malpensa, proceeded by Italian railways […]

Garibaldi – The Fighter

Suddenly you are looking in his eyes. Officially they’re brown, but for you they’ll always be blue. He is speaking in a soft, seductive voice. Glory if you follow, eternal shame if you don’t. Rome or Death. In a moment your destiny shifts. Incredibly, you have volunteered. You are given a red shirt an obsolete […]

Latin Lover Meets Lazio

Is there any more subtle relief than when, opening your wallet to pay some miserable bill, you find between the bank-notes a ticket for a big match: “Lazio vs Verona, Stadio Olimpico Roma. Settore ospiti.” Future pleasures assured, strong emotions guaranteed, it no longer seems so bad shelling out for some ridiculous request of the […]

Night Walk

The Ston’ench, so-called, or so pronounced, closed a while back, robbing us of our only local. Now it has reopened as Il Ranch Roccie Rosse and late on a Saturday evening, under considerable pressure from a bored twelve-year-old, I and my wife Rita are being pushed out of the house to go and investigate. “At […]

The Players

(from A Season with Verona) By age 10 their skills are evident. Their mothers are shrieking on the sidelines. Talent scouts are offering advice. By age 15 they are in a football college. They survive one selection after another. They see other boys leave, hanging their heads. Sensing they are destined for glory, they go […]

Girls & Goals

My friend Simone and I have been concerned for some time about a mutual friend, Massimo, a man in his fifties. His affair with a plain young Neapolitan girl, barely twenty-three, has being going on for almost three years. Every week, twice or three times, he risks all kinds of trouble with wife and family […]


He cuts a figure. The elegant black overcoat and broad brimmed hat are carried with a determinedly upright gait. At 75 his hair is long and wavy, the beard natty, the eyes bright. He is a remarkable writer. His books are translated into more or less all the languages people read literature in, except, alas, […]