The Moon and the Bonfires

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First edition (publ. Einaudi)

The Moon and the Bonfires is an English translation of the novel La Luna e i Falò, by the Italian poet and novelist Cesare Pavese. The book was written in Italian in 1949.[1] It is considered Pavese's best novel.[2]

The first English language translation was undertaken by L. Sinclair in 1952. A more recent translation by R.W. Flint, published in 2002, uses the arguably more correct translation of The Moon and the Bonfires, taking account of the use of the plural i Falò in the original Italian title.[3]

The novel is set in the small town of Santo Stefano Belbo, in Piedmont, north-west Italy. The protagonist, known only by his nickname of Anguilla (Eel), has returned to his home town in the years immediately following the Second World War. He had left just before the war, ostensibly for political reasons, and had made his fortune in the United States. Returning to his home town, he finds many of the same smells and sights that filled his youth, but he also finds a town and its inhabitants that have been deeply changed by war and by the passage of time.


  1. ^ Koffler, Richard, Review: The Essential Pavese, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Spring, 1969), pp. 286-288.
  2. ^ Cesare Pavese, Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  3. ^ The Moon and the Bonfires, The New York Review of Books.