The novelist, poet and dramatist Giacomo Sartori was born in 1958 in Trento in the Alpine northeast of Italy near the Austrian border. An agronomist, he is a soil specialist whose unusual day job (unusual for a writer) has shaped a distinctive concrete and poetic literary style. He has worked abroad with international development agencies in a number of countries, and has taught at the Università di Trento. He was over 30 when he began writing, and has since published seven novels and four collections of stories as well as poetry and texts for the stage. He’s an editor of the literary collective Nazione Indiana and contributes to the blog www.nazioneindiana.com.
Sartori took as his subject in his early novels Tritolo (TNT) and Sacrificio (Sacrifice) the stifling provincial atmosphere of the valleys of his native region and the twisted lives of its most vulnerable inhabitants. A recent novel Rogo (At the Stake), also set in the region, is written in the voices of three women from different historical periods who commit infanticide. The autofiction Anatomia della battaglia (The Anatomy of the Battle) about a young man’s effort to come to terms with and define his manhood against the model of his father, a committed Fascist, and the historical novel Cielo nero (Black Heavens), deal with fascism and its dark, persistent allure. Sartori’s shorter fiction includes the book of interrelated absurdist stories Autismi (Autisms, 2018) written in the voice of a person struggling to cope with the bizarre, baffling customs and expectations that all around him seem to share. The black humor and pessimism are reminiscent of Samuel Beckett. Several stories from Autismi have appeared in Frederika Randall’s English translation in Massachusetts Review, and an excerpt from L’Anatomia della battaglia, also translated by Randall, appeared in The Arkansas International no 2. At present he lives between Paris and Trento.