New Fiction: “The Epidemic” by Dino Buzzatti

Originally published in 1965, Dino Buzzati’s short fiction collection Catastrophe and Other Stories has been republished for our calamitous times. The Italian author’s tales of everyday collapse resonated with the post-Mussolini, post-WWII readers, but their odd and foreboding stories still bite. Here are a few lines from “The Epidemic”:

“The fact is this, sir, to put it crudely: if you get influenza, it means you’re against the government!”

“Against the government?”

“Eh, I found it hard to believe too . . . but finally, I was convinced. Believe me, not even we have any idea of the brilliance of the Chief who leads us. . . . A magnificent idea for taking the country’s pulse . . . State influenza! Don’t you think it’s wonderful? Influenza which attacks onlypessimists, skeptics, opponents, enemies of the country lurking all over the place . . . while the devoted citizens, the patriots, the conscientious workers are untouched!”

Read the whole short story.