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A Private Affair

A Private Affair

by Beppe Fenoglio, translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis

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Milton—the name is a nom de guerre—is a member of a partisan band battling Italian Fascists and German forces in the chaotic last years of World War II. Before the war Milton was a student of English literature and a lover of poetry. He was in love with a girl, too, Fulvia, and from time to time she’d invite him over to her rich family’s fine house and have him read to her. Now, in the thick of war, he discovers that handsome Giorgio, his friend and fellow partisan, was sleeping with Fulvia at the time. Furious with jealousy, Milton hastens to have it out with Giorgio, but Giorgio has been captured by the Germans. A Private Affair tells the story of Milton’s mad quest—through mud and fog, rain and terror, while barely evading enemy patrols—to rescue his friend, the better to settle a grudge from a lost world of peace. Beppe Fenoglio’s masterpiece is a peerless story of the violent heart and world.

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681376745
Pages: 176
Publication Date:


A Private Affair has the geometric tension of a romance of mad lovers and chivalric pursuits like Orlando Furioso, and at the same time it presents the Resistance exactly as it was, inside and out, as truly as it has ever been written . . . with all the moral values and emotions (the more powerful, the more implicit) and fury.
—Italo Calvino

Superb and superbly exciting.
—Paul Bailey

No other modern Italian author has managed to produce such tellingly unstable fiction, while sustaining such a powerful narrative drive.
—Peter Hainsworth, TLS

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