Winner of the most prestigious Dutch literary award Libris in 2014
Award winning and much praised novel by the new European literary star. Written as a series of letters and notes addressed to the unnamed reader to whom the narrator reports about his life in Genova, where he made his permanent residence out of “desire to fulfil his eternal dream about the enviously rich and carefree Mediterranean life among real, authentic people here, in this medieval labyrinth”. The novel La Superba by the Dutch author Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer explores, tells and analyses a fantasy about a better life somewhere else in a humorous and witty way.
The narrator declares himself a “luxurious migrant” so he could separate himself from “those poor souls from Morocco and Senegal who wondered those same streets fantasizing about a better life and guaranteed riches in Europe” and whom the authorities “chased like rats”. He wonders through the labyrinth of medieval streets of Genova every day, looking for “the most beautiful girl in Genova”. He meets a whole range of picturesque characters along the way – from intellectuals who moved from the West and elderly Italian ladies to Senegalese and Moroccan immigrants and prostitutes and transvestites – and what they all have in common is that the “wonder in their own fantasies” in different ways…
Thematically and stylistically complex, La Superba is a postmodern ode to the imagination and a dedication to the uniqueness of the city of Genova – La Superba, “sublime and haughty, beautiful and proud, seductive and unreachable… like a hooker which looks at you provocatively, but who will never be yours.”