Author(s): Italo Svevo (Author)
Alfonso the bank clerk wants to be a poet and seems to be falling in love with Annetta, the vain and arrogant daughter of his boss. But the emptiness of his attempts at both writing and love lead to an ironic and painful conclusion. A Life is the gruelling tale of the frustrated existence of a bank clerk with a poetic soul. The artistic aspirations of the protagonist and the emptiness of his daily life become tragic in the great divide between what he wants, what he actually has and what he gets.'If you have never read Svevo, do as soon as you can. He is beautiful and important.' - New Statesman
"Svevo is perhaps the most significant Italian modernist novelist." - Times Literary Supplement "If you have never read Svevo, do as soon as you can. He is beautiful and important." - New Statesman
Italo Svevo was born in Trieste in 1861. His real name was Hector Schmitz. Educated mainly in Bavaria, he wrote in Italian, and as a young man had to work as a French and German correspondence clerk in a Trieste bank. He was not happy in the business world and at the age of thirty-one he wrote A Life, and published it at his own expense. It was followed four years later by Senility, a novel of tortured eroticism. Both A Life and Senility were such failures that Svevo gave up writing for the next twenty years. During this time he became a good friend of James Joyce, who was also living in Trieste, and who was able to use his influence to make Svevo known in Europe. Svevo was just becoming recognised in Italy when he was killed in a car accident in 1928.