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Flatbush Flashback

Translator Rising

As Yoko Ono would be inclined to point out, yesterday, on the 18th day of the 9th month, the first article about the impending publication of Nowhere Man: Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon (Coniglio) appeared in the Italian press. And what's extraordinary about this story, that ran in Il Tirreno, is that the book's translator (and my Italian Avatar), Paolo Palmieri, is mentioned in the headline, which roughly translates as "John Lennon's Diaries Translated by Palmieri."

Never before have I seen a translator featured so prominently in an article about Nowhere Man. But in this case the credit is well deserved—without Paolo, there would be no Italian edition.

This is really a story about a local boy who’s made good. The article says that Paolo’s translation of this international bestseller, born of Lennon’s personal diaries, has brought merit to his hometown of Piombino.

Paolo says his translation is “an act of love for a musician who I’ve always loved,” and that he’d dreamed of going to New York to meet the ex-Beatle, but Lennon was murdered before he could make the trip.

Already on sale in some bookstores, Nowhere Man’s “official” publication day is September 22. Read More 
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The Renaissance of Nowhere Man

Robert Rosen (left) and Paolo Palmieri, Pisa, Italy, March 2011. Photo by Mary Lyn Maiscott.
Last week my Italian translator, Paolo Palmieri, informed me that he had in his hands five printed copies of the Italian edition of Nowhere Man: Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon, and that the book would be on sale in Italy in a few weeks. Could there be a more appropriate country for a Nowhere Man Renaissance?

My literary relationship with Paolo began three years ago, when I received an e-mail from a stranger in Tuscany who’d read an English language edition of Nowhere Man. “Why,” he asked, “is there no Italian edition?”

“Good question,” I replied.

Paolo took it upon himself to find a publisher—Coniglio—and then translate the book. For the first time I’ve had an opportunity to work closely with a translator, and clarify, over the course of about a thousand e-mails, the countless words and passages that would have otherwise been lost or obscured in translation, which Paolo then explained in footnotes—the first foreign language edition to do so. This translation, in short, is a labor of love.

Now that the book exists, Paolo is going to give readings, talk about it to the media, blog about it, tweet about it, and promote it in any way he can think of. Which makes him a lot more than my translator. He is my Italian Avatar.

It’s been more than 11 years since the original hardcover edition of Nowhere Man was published in the United States. Can we all just agree now that the book is a classic? Read More 
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Nowhere Man to Be Published in Italy

I'm delighted and relieved to announce that an Italian edition of Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon will be published this year by Coniglio. This calls for a slice of pizza and a glass of Chianti. Hell--make that a whole pie and a bottle.

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