Additional Book Information
Series: New York Review Books
Publication Date: June 13, 2023
My Stupid Intentions
by Bernardo Zannoni, translated from the Italian by Alex Andriesse
My Stupid Intentions is the autobiography of a beech marten named Archy. Born into poverty, maimed by an accident, he is sold into servitude by his mother and taught to read and write by Solomon—a pawnbroking fox whose knowledge derives from a Bible that fell on his head while he was busy feeding on a hanged man.
Even as Archy’s life is transformed by his discovery of the written word and his grappling with the entity called God, he longs for an existence guided by instinct. He longs to be “a real animal.” But there is no way of unlearning what he has learned. Caught between his natural urges and his acquired knowledge, he seeks the meaning of his story by writing it.
This debut novel by the young Italian author Bernardo Zannoni is set in a primordial landscape where animals talk and tend their hearths but are never free from the struggle for survival. A picaresque fable, it has drawn comparisons to Pinocchio and Watership Down, The Wind in the Willows and The Stranger.
A novel of extraordinary caliber, driven along by an extraordinary youthful aplomb mellowed and transfigured by the wise and symbolic world of the fairy tale.
—L’Indice dei libri del mese
Zannoni has written an anthropomorphic picaresque novel, but this description doesn’t do it justice. It is sweet and cruel, a tale about difference, weakness, and change. . . . Every time we forget that Archy is a beech marten, we are reminded of it by Zannoni’s depictions of ruthless and devastating nature, whose inexorable seasons must be respected and feared.
The life of a beech marten, told by himself, [it] is a novel that fascinates from its first pages and, in the end, delivers on all of its promises.
—Il Quotidiano del Sud
A limpid and ambitious novel, written by a twenty-five-year-old. A surprising debut.