Mind Games: A Collection of Emotional Thrillers by Luigi Capuana

In this collection of short stories, Luigi Capuana focuses on the psychology of his characters and their inner worlds. They are often comical or absurd, yet always act in accordance with the iron logic of their manias, flaws and quirks.
These emotional thrillers explore the always fascinating — and sometimes dangerous — territory of our inner realities. The line between sanity and insanity may be thinner than we would like to think.

Sometimes hilarious, sometimes unsettling, you’ll be thinking about Mind Games and its stories of ordinary people in incredible situations long after you have turned the final page.

 

 

A little about Luigi first:

Luigi Capuana is a pivotal figure in Italian literature. Along with Giovanni Verga, he founded the Verismo movement, the Italian answer to the Realist movement sweeping European literature in the mid-nineteenth century. A prolific writer and respected journalist, he published six novels as well as short stories, plays, essays and other works during his lifetime. Capuana was born in Sicily in 1839 but spent his career in cities throughout Italy until his death in 1915.

Karen Meyer’s Review: 3.5-Stars

I love the way the cover lets the reader know the setting of the book. Then I open the book and try to get through the first chapter. The opening paragraph doesn’t really grab my attention the way an opening paragraph should.
“And what about justice?” Lastrucci exclaimed.
“Which one?” Which one what?
The reader should not have questions from the very first sentence. I go on and I see he’s trying to explain but it’s a case of too little, too late in my opinion.

I would say the title does fit what I read of the book. Mind Games is an off-the-wall fantasy that never seems to develop into an entertaining novel.

Since I read either to learn or for pleasure, this book did not meet that criteria. He dreams he murders someone and feels he should be punished for it.

Sorry, I read three chapters three times and couldn’t tell you what happened. But the punctuation, spelling and sentence construction was all good.

I know there are readers that will eat this up, but it just wasn’t for me personally.

Diane Andersen’s Review: 5-Stars

In the annals of English and American literature, there are short story greats like Edgar Allen Poe, O. Henry, Henry James and James Joyce. However, that same era that gave us those literary giants, who made us examine life and love during the repressive Victorian era, there was across the pond a Continental favorite spinning his own tales for an Italian audience. Luigi Capuano penned his collection under the original title Delitto Ideale. Here, for the first time, thanks to the translation efforts of Chiara Giacobbe.

This makes for a most interesting and unusual review to write. On the one hand, the stories are essentially classics in their own right, the author long gone and not here to defend his work or even make comment on Ms. Giacobbe’s translation. Are they indeed an effective interpretation of the original language? Do they convey the essence of the tone and flavor of the late Victorian Era in Italy?

Those were things I wrestled with as I read these, always keeping that as the barometer by which I read them. Assuming this is as direct of a translation while still keeping the “voice” and intent of the original, I found these quite delightful to read, though perhaps a bit daunting to get my head wrapped around.

Capuana has a bit of Hemingway’s economy of words and the insight of James Joyce’s psychological assessment of life and society. The tales at the very least offer a glimpse into the Italian landscape of the early 20th century, from the Tuscan countryside to the streets of Rome and all through the eyes of provocative characters that transcend culture and dig into the heart of our humanity from its darkest depths to its brightest hopes.

A must read for all short story fans and classic literary readers.

Please feel free to share your review in the comments.

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One thought on “Mind Games: A Collection of Emotional Thrillers by Luigi Capuana

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  1. Capuana writes stories that are thought-provoking. His stories skate the sometimes thin line between reality and insanity. Which will win? His characters, from an artist looking for the perfect form for his clay sculpture to a wife’s premonition of a storm, are all so very different from one story to the next, yet all tie together in such an intriguing way that left me thinking about them for days after I received the book, which I finished in a day and a half. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for reading short stories about glimpses into the way the mind works for fully-drawn-out individuals. Quite remarkable for stories of only a few pages.

    I give Mind-games a five out of five.

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