Auster and Buzzati, with Bocconi University

Il deserto dei Tartari by Dino Buzzati and In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster: Bocconi Arts Campus and TwLetteratura are launching a new social reading game. From February 6, on Twitter. Hashtags: #BuzzatiTw and #AusterTw.



Il deserto dei Tartari by Dino Buzzati, first published in 1940, and In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster (1987, translated into Italian with the title Nel paese delle ultime cose in 1996): what do they have in common? Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. We will soon find out some answers, with the new social reading game that Bocconi Arts Campus and TwLetteratura are launching on Twitter from February 6. Just follow the timeline listed below and use the official hashtags, #BuzzatiTw and #AusterTw.

We want to use TwLetteratura method to compare the two novels and the artistic inspiration of their authors. But we also want to relate Italian and American literature, reflecting on the same theme: the cruel irreversibility of time and the search for what has been lost forever, or never arrived.

The method is always the same: the community reads a book, commenting and rewriting it on Twitter. The tweets can be summaries, paraphrases, interpretations, comments; they can rewrite a portion of the original text from a different point of view or set it in another place or time. It is a journey from the text to the community, where everyone brings their own ideas, feelings and interpretations.

This time, however, we are playing with two books. We are going to read Dino Buzzati’s novel in Italian, rewriting, commenting and summarizing it with the hashtag #BuzzatiTw. Paul Auster will be read in the original English version and rewritten on Twitter with the hashtag #AusterTw.

Why Buzzati and Auster

Buzzati and Auster, one of the most noteworthy 20th-century Italian novelists and the undisputed star – together with Pynchon and DeLillo – of the American postmodernist literature; on the one hand Buzzati’s style, apparently submitted to the rules of journalistic communication, on the other hand Auster’s sophisticated and intellectual grace.

Two dystopian novels, two inhospitable places. On one side, the desert. And – in the desert – Lieutenant Giovanni Drogo’s Fort Bastiani. On the other side, the city without name inhabited by Anna Blume, and – within the city – the Woburn House shelter.

Il deserto dei Tartari was first published by Mondadori in 1940 and it is nowadays available in Oscar Mondadori paperbacks edition, also in digital version. In the Country of Last Things (1987) came out in the United States by Viking Press and in UK by Faber & Faber. Again, you can choose between print edition and e-book.

We Reading

That’s not all. The game on Twitter will be complemented by three public readings at Bocconi University – at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the calendar – in which we will read excerpts of the two novels by Buzzati and Auster. Of course, Il deserto dei Tartari will be read in Italian, while In the Country of Last Things will be read in English.

The events will be coordinated by We Reading, a non-profit promoting literary public readings managed by a CLEACC Bocconi student (Degree in Economy for Culture, Arts and Communication):

  • Monday, February 6 | Paul Auster, In the Country of Last Things | Reader Valentina Rho
  • Thursday, February 16 | Dino Buzzati, The Tartar Steppe | Reader Alberto Baraghini
  • Thursday, February 23 | Paul Auster, In the Country of Last Things | Reader Valentina Rho
  • Tuesday, March 7 | Dino Buzzati, The Tartar Steppe | Reader Alberto Baraghini

The readings will take place at the Openside (via Roentgen, 1) in Milan from 5:45 p.m. Here you can find all the details.

From February 6

We are going to read Buzzati and Auster’s novels in parallel, starting from February 6. Everyone is free to choose between Il deserto dei Tartari (reading and rewriting on Twitter in Italian) and In the Country of Last Things (reading and rewriting on Twitter in English). Of course, nothing prevents from reading them both.

Each tweet should include the hashtag #BuzzatiTw for Il deserto dei Tartari, #AusterTw for In the Country of Last Things – followed by /01, /02, /03 etc., according to the portion of text you are reading and rewriting.

Everyone must follow the calendars below:


6 February 2017: cap. I (#BuzzatiTw/01)

7 February 2017: cap. II (…/02)

8 February 2017: cap. III (…/03)

9 February 2017: cap. IV (…/04)

10 February 2017: cap. V (…/05)

11 February 2017: cap. VI (…/06)

12 February 2017: cap. VII (…/07)

13 February 2017: cap. VIII (…/08)

14 February 2017: cap. IX (…/09)

15 February 2017: cap. X (…/10)

16 February 2017: cap. XI (…/11)

17 February 2017: cap. XII (…/12)

18 February 2017: cap. XIII (…/13)

19 February 2017: cap. XIV (…/14)

20 February 2017: cap. XV (…/15)

21 February 2017: cap. XVI (…/16)

22 February 2017: cap. XVII (…/17)

23 February 2017: cap. XVIII (…/18)

24 February 2017: cap. XIX (…/19)

25 February 2017: cap. XX (…/20)

26 February 2017: cap. XXI (…/21)

27 February 2017: cap. XXII (…/22)

28 February 2017: cap. XXIII (…/23)

1 March 2017: cap. XXIV (…/24)

2 March 2017: cap. XXV (…/25)

3 March 2017: cap. XXVI (…/26)

4 March 2017: cap. XXVII (…/27)

5 March 2017: cap. XXVIII (…/28)

6 March 2017: cap. XXIX (…/29)

7 March 2017: cap. XXX (…/30)


6 February 2017: These are the last things, she wrote (AusterTw/01)

7 February 2017: There are people so thin, she wrote (…/02)

8 February 2017: When you walk through the streets (…/03)

9 February 2017: You would think that sooner or later (…/04)

10 February 2017: Other deaths are more dramatic (…/05)

11 February 2017: It tends to blur in my mind now (…/06)

12 February 2017: For those at the bottom (…/07)

13 February 2017: There is so much I want to tell you (…/08)

14 February 2017: Bear with me (…/09)

15 February 2017: I never found William, she continued (…/10)

16 February 2017: In the end, that photograph made all the difference (…/11)

17 February 2017: Their house was a Circus Lane (…/12)

18 February 2017: We lived in one medium-sized room (…/13)

19 February 2017: In the beginning (…/14)

20 February 2017: I wandered aimlessly for two or three hours (…/15)

21 February 2017: Isabel spent the rest of the morning (…/16)

22 February 2017: I stayed with Isabel until the end (…/17)

23 February 2017: Later the same day (…/18)

24 February 2017: In spite of what you would suppose (…/19)

25 February 2017: It was the hardest winter in memory (…/20)

26 February 2017: That was how I survived the Terrible Winter (…/21)

27 February 2017: In the end, Sam and I never suffered from these laws (…/22)

28 February 2017: Little by little, I am trying to tell you what happened (…/23)

1 March 2017: The routine was endless and exhausting (…/24)

2 March 2017: The Worburn House supplier was a man named Boris (…/25)

3 March 2017: Boris was right (…/26)

4 March 2017: That was more than a year ago (…/27)

5 March 2017: The irony was that Sam was a success (…/28)

6 March 2017: Our neck were saved for a little while (…/29)

7 March 2017: That was six or seven weeks ago and I don’t go out much anymore (…/30)

Do you want to know more about TwLetteratura? Subscribe to our newsletter and download Betwyll, TwLetteratura’s app from App Store or Google Play. If you are a TwLetteratura fan, you can freely support the development of Betwyll with your purchases through Helpfreely.

#BuzzatiTw / AusterTw
Starting on
febbraio 6, 2017
Ending on
marzo 7, 2017