This month, the award-winning author and literary critic David Lodge has chosen for his Book of the Month The Pike: Gabriele d’Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War by Lucy Hughes-Hallett. He writes:
‘D’Annunzio (1863-1938) was a key figure in Italian and European politics and literature for most of his life, but I knew little about him until I read Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s magnificent biography. She tells a story that would not be believable if presented as fiction, and she has done it full justice, using the techniques of a novelist as well as the skills of a historian. I have absolutely no sympathy for d’Annunzio’s values, morals, and aspirations, and yet I was irresistibly impressed, and continuously amused, by the bravura with which he lived them out. In the process I learned a lot about modern Italian history. This book kept me enthralled throughout a disappointingly wet holiday in the Italian lakes this summer.’
David Lodge’s Quite a Good Time to Be Born: A Memoir, 1935-75 and Lives in Writing: Essays were both published last year. His most recent work, The Man Who Wouldn’t Get Up and Other Stories, was published by Vintage in September.