An Absurd Vice

A Biography of Cesare Pavese
Titolo originale: Il vizio assurdo
Book published: July 2020
Book pages: 360
Rights sold to:


An Absurd Vice is the most beautiful – and most complete – book about Cesare Pavese, because it was written by a friend. In his last message – left on the night table at the Roma Hotel near sixteen empty barbiturate sachets – Pavese asked not to gossip too much. Only someone who was born on the same hills and who really loved him could have taken care of his memory with all the necessary decency, sensitivity and courage. Davide Lajolo wanted to make an «act of di reparation» retracing the life of Pavese from his rural childhood on the Langhe hills to his working life in the publishing milieu in Turin, to the arrest and exile for his antifascist beliefs.

Lajolo gives us a portrait of a man incredibly gifted but torn apart by existential anguish, craving for love and a home but distressed by womankind and, above all, haunted by the vice of writing and suicide.  

This book is not just an intimate and truthful biography of one of the most talented Italian writers, an excellent poet and renowned translator of great authors such as Melville and Joyce; this is also the tale of a whole generation and its tragedies written by someone directly involved and with a crucial question in mind: «What could have we done more then, when he was still alive, near us?»

Published in 1983 in the U.S. by New Directions Publishing.