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Stefano Benni

Stefano Benni is widely considered one of Italy’s foremost novelists. His trademark mix of biting social satire and magical realism has turned each of his books into a national bestseller. His many novels include: Bar Sport, The Company of Celestini, The Cafe Beneath the Sea, and now the remarkably successful Margherita Dolce Vita. Benni is also the author of several volumes of essays and poetry and many collections of short stories. He lives in Bologna, Italy.

All Stefano Benni's books

Upcoming events

Next month’s European Book Club focuses on Italy and the title being discussed is Stefano Benni’s Margherita Dolce Vita, translated by Anthony Shugaar. Benni’s enormously popular and...

Latest reviews

  • Benni again unveils his Italian brand of magical realism for readers of English, this time demonstrating a decidedly more political slant than what featured in his previous novel, Margherita Dolce Vita. While Margherita lamented the intrusions of modern technology on the pastoral...
    — May 5 2008
  • The sickly 14-year-old heroine of this charming Italian novel prefers to “call things not only by the names that are found in the dictionary but also by names found only in the fictitonary, names that I make up and choose.”  This makes Margherita a bit of an unreliable narrator,...
    — Feb 17 2007
  • A tale of the good and the not-so-good life Just the thing to wake you from wintry hibernation, this book is a firecracker. The world of Margherita Dolce Vita jumps from the page into three-dimensional life, fizzing with wit and wisdom. Stefano Benni is a well-known...
    — Jan 6 2007
  • Beware the evangelists next door As loyal readers of Stefano Benni might expect, his new novel is a lively, whimsical and furiously contemporary satire, which can and should be enjoyed on its own merits. However, like his other books, it also raises interesting questions...
    — Jan 3 2007
  • In Youth Is Pleasure Literature written from the point of view of children poses special problems. There exists a separate type of book — a children's book — for good reason. Because child narrators necessarily possess faculties inferior to those of the writer, they...
    — Nov 29 2006
  • Sucked Into the Mysterious Box If this country hasn't been completely destroyed,' the Italian writer Stefano Benni said in an interview in Rome last year, 'it is thanks to those who have continued to think'.   In Margherita Dolce Vita, the latest novel from the prolific...
    — Nov 27 2006
  • Review #25 Holy cow, this is an amazing book. It's New Fabulist, anti-capitalist/consumerist, witty and youthful, contemporary and terrifying. It's eerie and charing and hilarious. Margherita is a teenager in semi-suburban Italy, content with her slightly oddball normal...
    — Nov 21 2006
  • Quick takes on what to watch, read and play... This modern fable, translated from Italian and narrated by the adorable, chubby, brainy young Margherita, has a moral that’s a hilarious bit of social commentary. by Joyce Chang
    — Nov 15 2006
  • The title character in Stefano Benni’s darkly charming modern-day fairy tale Margherita Dolce Vita (Europa editions) is a precocious 14-year-old whose family lives in genteel bohemian poverty near the Great Meadow on the outskirts of an Italian town. Margherita specializes...
    — Nov 9 2006
  • Political sature dresses up as teen fantasy There's a cheery endorsement from playwright and Nobel Laureate Dario Fo on the cover of Stefano Benni's comical-allegorical-fantastical fable, the first of this Italian writer's many novels to be published in English. Once you've...
    — Oct 30 2006
  • Benni is renowned in his native Italy as a shrewd and entertaining satirist. His inventive style must be daunting for translators, but Shugaar’s English rendering is dazzling. Margherita Dolce Vita is the 14-year-old narrator’s nickname, and the allusion to Felllini’s La...
    — Sep 20 2006
  • Margherita Dolce Vita, the eccentric 14-year-old heroine of Benni's Italian bestseller, has a "fusilli farm" of blonde curls and lives at the "colorless and necessary outskirts of town" with her quirky family. Like her collector-of-aged-junk father, Margherita prefers the magic...
    — Sep 5 2006
  • This is the first of the prolific Italian author’s novels to be published in English—a cause for celebration. This inventive satire stars 15-year-old Margherita, as charismatic, though far wiser, than British author Sue Townsend’s popular creation Adrian Mole. She...
    — Aug 24 2006

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