More information about author Mario Biondi
With deep gratitude for the translator: Mr Ercole Guidi (Guidi Online Translation)
Born in Milan, in 1939, he lived in Como — hometown of 3 of his grandparents — for a long time. Completed high school at Como's Liceo Classico A.Volta, he graduated in Political Economics at Milans' Bocconi University with a thesis on «Relations between civilization and economic progress», then worked for five years in the industrial sector (Burroughs, Nestlé) and sixteen years in publishing (Einaudi, Sansoni, Longanesi), as Chief Press Officer.
In addition, he has been constantly active in Anglo-American narrative, of which he is also a translator and reviewer for several dailies, weeklies and monthlies (Giornale, Corriere, Europeo, Panorama and others.). Professional novelist for nearly fifteen years, publicist for over twenty, he has collaborated with stories on various topics with "7", Europeo, Panorama, Amica, Io donna, Max, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Myster, Class, Specchio, Meridiani, Bell'Europa and others.
In 1973 he published a small collection of poems, Per rompere qualcosa, followed by other poems published on the Almanacco dello Specchio Mondadori 1976 and on various literary publications or anthologies (Il Verri, Altri termini, Pianura etc).
He has also published fourteen novels: Il lupo Bambino (Marsilio, 1975), La Sera del Giorno (Bompiani, 1981), Il Cielo della Mezzaluna (Longanesi, 1982), Gli Occhi di una Donna (id. 1985), La Civetta sul Comò (id. 1986), Un Amore Innocente (Rizzoli, 1988), Crudele Amore (id. 1990), Il Destino di un Uomo (id. 1992), Due Bellissime Signore (id. 1993), Un Giorno e per Tutta la Vita (id. 1995), Una Porta di Luce (Longanesi, 1998), Codice Ombra (Longanesi, September, 1999), Destino (TEA, September, 2006), La Casa delle Mille e Una Notte (Barbera, november, 2012).
He has also published 3 books of travel’s narrative, narrating his travel experiences, particularly in Middle, Central Asia and China to Tibet. Güle gule. Parti con un sorriso (Ponte alle Grazie, 2003), Strada bianca per i Monti del Cielo. Vagabondo sulla Via della Seta (Ponte alle Grazie, 2005), Con il Buddha di Alessandro Magno (Ponte alle Grazie, 2008).
The novel Gli occhi di una Donna earned the author the 1985 SuperCampiello Award.
He has translated seventy-one works by American and English authors, among which Bernard Malamud, John Updike, Edith Wharton, Ann Tyler, Irvine Welsh and Nobel prizes Isaac B. Singer, William Golding, Wole Soyinka and Orhan Pamuk (translated from an american edition, as Mr Pamuk himself requested).
Curiosities: in his early youth he wore the national athletics team blu jersey, when selected for the "1960 Possible Olimpians" team for the Rome's 1960 Olimpic Games in which, however, he did not get to participate.
In 1994 he was awarded the Coni Award for narrative.
In april 1995 he has created the ancestor of this Web site.
In December 2000 he has created with Gruppo Editoriale Longanesi (now GeMS, Gruppo editoriale MauriSpagnol) the "Portale del Romanzo" InfiniteStorie.it, an information service about events in italian fiction, which has remained online until November 2014.
- After an "all-literary" debut, with a manchette of poems (Per Rompere Qualcosa, Ant Ed, 1973) and two novels of strong experimental and social commitment (Il Lupo Bambino, Marsilio, 1975 and La Sera del Giorno, Bompiani, 1981), fairly welcomed by the critics yet hardly noticed by the public, the earliest success (especially with the critics) comes about in 1982, with a large and cultured hystory novel, Il Cielo della Mezzaluna (Longanesi, 1982), hinged on the fortunes of a venician boy abducted by turkish pirates in the XV century and brought up within the retinue of an Ottoman Visir until the conquest of Costantinopole, in which he takes part on the Turks' side.
- The widespread success comes shortly after with the novel Gli Occhi di una Donna (Longanesi, 1985), an industrial-lumbard family saga spanning from 1914 thru to 1982. SuperCampiello Award. A radio version, adapted by the author (14 instalments) was aired by Rai in both 1986 and 1987.
- The next novel, La Civetta sul Comò (1986, Longanesi), a brilliant spy-story with comical implications revolving around the arms trade with Near East countries, also meets with good success. The rights were eventually acquired by Rai - Italy's public TV network - (Rete Due) which asked directors Frazzi brothers and the author to screenplay a 2 or three instalment picture.
- Largely successful were the two full-bodied subsequent novels, Un Amore Innocente (Rizzoli, 1988) and Crudele Amore (id, 1990), which tell in two parts (from 1935 to 1947) the complex love story between a brilliant Italian writer and a young Jewish girl from Paris, whom is fifteen when the story begins. A very colorful story, with sceneries varying from Milan to the Egean, from Costantinopole to Paris, from war-time Varsaw to late forties New York, and Nazi-Fascism, the war, the Jewish holocaust, and the reconstruction, which coincides with the phsichological reconstruction (each on his own) of the devastated protagonist and of the young woman. A host of characters, each with his own personal fate, normally centered on the double concept of innocent love/cruel love, that is, inescapable. Exotism. Dream-like wandering into the world of esoterism and magics. And a wide-open finale which leaves the author the option of further developments, hinged on the protagonist's son and other younger side-characters, inserted toward that perspective in the first two parts.
- There follows another "Duology", Il Destino di un Uomo (Rizzoli, 1992) and Due Bellissime Signore (id., 1993). The first novel's dominant figure is that of Lino Villard, a boy grown in a remote mountain orphanage, who becomes an expert silk weaver in France, then a French Maquisard and an Italian Partisan and, at last, the partner of an unfortunate silk industrialist from Como, whose crumbling business he takes over after his suicide. Protagonist of the second novel is still Villard, now in deadly confrontation with the relatives/competitors of the suicidal industrialist, yet the leading character is one of the two "belle signore", a brillant young attorney who while assisting Villard in his economic-financial challenge comes up with a stunning discovery as to the true identity of the former orphan.
- The tenth novel, Un Giorno e per Tutta la Vita (Rizzoli, 1995) tells in flash-back the unfortunate love of a very young wife, all alone in an isolated farmhouse at the end of World War II when the likewise young spouse, a veteran from the same war, seeks refuge in Switzerland to avoid serving in the Salò Republic. This love, made impossible by the death of the young lover in the partisan war, had apparently been chaste, but the protagonist (Amelia Rossi Conti), on her deathbed, leaves her son an array of documents and objects which will lead the latter to a disturbing discovery.
- The eleventh novel, Una Porta di Luce (Longanesi, 1998), is about the difficult return to consciousness of a man who had fallen into coma after an accident on the slopes. When traditional medicin fails, the young neurologist — who has been secretly in love with her patient since their youth days — decides to take her odds to a Rumanian healer, who practices on the Tatra Range through a mixture of cutting-edge computerized techniques and quasi magical elements. Material to the recovery will be the doctor's love and the patient's thirteen year old son, who is subject to an Out-of-Body experience which lands him into a mysterious parallel reality where he senses that a reunition of his consciousness to his father's could take place. In the novel reappears the Moiso Segre from the Destino/Due bellissime duology. From the duology is also the first part of the setting (a fake locality on the Maritime Alps). From Crudele Amore, instead, comes the character of healer Dimitru Minea, nephiew of that novel's healer Deodata.
- With the twelfth novel, Codice Ombra (Longanesi, 1999), Biondi definitively takes on in-depth the structure of the thriller and, in particular, of the techno-thriller. The international mob has set up a secret structure, named "Shadow", for the purpose of controlling communications worldwide. To this end they abduct a genial former soviet mathematician who is far ahead in his research on bio-memory (DNA computer) and force him to work for them. Fortunately the good guys are on the watch. Among these we find most of the characters from the previous novels and, in particular, neurologist Cristina Donghi and computer geek Tom Minea.
- Other than the pleasure for aggregating stories in consecutive works, a constant feature of these novels (and also of some short stories) is the reappearance, from time to time, of characters already presented in previous works. Nearly always, for example, there comes Emma Lucini Olgiati Drezzo, the protagonist of Gli occhi di una Donna. Often are her sons or heirs to pop up. But also other characters, such as, for example, the two protagonists from La Civetta sul Comò. All in a stylistic attempt to build on certain structural architectures of our Balzac-like "Human Comedy".
- After that comes the interest for the narrative of travels, with the above mentioned books. And so on…