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Blue Hunger (Hardcover)
From one of Italy's most electrifying voices, a fearless story of queer love and obsession set against the glassy surfaces of Shanghai.
"Blue Hunger is irresistible, evocative, dripping with desire, and brilliantly written-Viola Di Grado is a genius."-Jami Attenberg
After her twin's death, a solitary young woman leaves Rome for Shanghai, the city where her brother Ruben had long dreamed of opening a restaurant. Teaching Italian to Chinese students, she meets a mysterious girl named Xu, who is also running from a turbulent past: a violent father, an absent mother, and an extended family who wishes she'd been a boy. Xu's house is dingy and full of rotting food, like a museum of decomposing organic matter. In the gloom of abandoned textile factories and dilapidated slaughterhouses, the two discover an extreme dimension where biting, swallowing, and taking each other in are part of the erotic ritual.
Rooted in an experience of cultural limbo, Blue Hunger takes the reader on a visually stunning, taboo-demolishing journey into the depths of the psyche, from mourning to falling in lust-all in a city of potent dreams, stories, and stimulations.
About the Author
Viola Di Grado's novels include Strega finalist and Campiello Award-winning 70% Acrylic 30% Wool and PEN Award Finalist Hollow Heart. She holds a degree in Eastern Languages from the University of Turin and a Masters from the University of London. She lives in London.
Jamie Richards is an American translator, editor, and writer. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from the University of Oregon. A 2021 NEA fellowship recipient, Richards has translated works by Roberto Saviano, Igiaba Scego, and others.
“Blue Hunger is irresistible, evocative, dripping with desire, and brilliantly written-Viola Di Grado is a genius.” —Jami Attenberg
“Blue Hunger is a most vibrant novel about lust: beautifully written and full of sensuous images, Viola Di Grado's book is a powerful literary journey into food and sex and the city. In depicting the constant foreignness of falling in love, Di Grado reveals herself as a true master of style.” —Claudia Durastanti, author of STRANGERS I KNOW and CLEOPATRA GOES TO PRISON
“Viola Di Grado is, most importantly, a powerful and original writer; the fact that she also writes, movingly and with complexity, about members of the LGBT population, renders her work all the more singular.” —Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE HOURS
“Blue Hunger is a devastating study of the ways in which grief renders everything, even the self, foreign. A gorgeous grotesquerie of lust and despair backdropped by the writhing rhythms of Shanghai.” —Rachel Yoder, author of NIGHTBITCH
“Sticky, neon, and electric, Blue Hunger drips with desire, danger, and hunger in myriad forms.” —Jessica Andrews, author of SALTWATER
“Blue Hunger's is a disorientating world made strange by grief-a world where words have lost their meaning, and identity fragments. In luminous and startling prose, Viola Di Grado lays bare the risk inherent in human relationships, the capacity we have to inflict and enjoy pain as well as pleasure, and the disassembling power of grief. Bold and addictive, this is a carnal, sensual, drug-and-sex-infused trip of a novel.” —Imogen Crimp, author of A VERY NICE GIRL
“A sensuous and biting account . . . It's worth indulging in this visceral story.” —Publishers Weekly
“Haunting . . . An erotic and disturbing depiction of the effects of grief.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Readers will be fascinated by the novel's scenery, psychological acuity . . . Queerness, grief, isolation, dependence, and love merge in this novel of geographically-based healing and descent.” —Booklist
"Italian author Viola Di Grado simulates the fever dreamlike state of an all-consuming love." - RUSSH
"It’s lush, dreamlike, and once started, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it." - Terri Schlichenmeyer, Los Angeles Blade
"A masterful narrative that conveys the ecstasy of new love . . . The final scene is a spectacular feat, managing to be both unexpected and exquisitely tender." - The Sydney Morning Herald
"Di Grado’s prose is exhilaratingly dynamic, made up of fragmented paragraphs that look and sound like prose poetry and that use poetic language in surprising and edgy ways." - The Saturday Paper
“Di Grado's black comedy, pungent metaphors and controlled ambiguity announce the arrival of a considerable talent.” —Times Literary Supplement on 70% ACRYLIC 30% WOOL
“Written in lavish language and with beautiful metaphors.” —The Star Tribune on 70% ACRYLIC 30% WOOL
“I've read and loved her novels, which center around young, unconventional women.” —Jami Attenberg, New York Times
“A subtle meditation on language and its failures.” —Financial Times on 70% ACRYLIC 30% WOOL