The Moon and the Bonfires
First edition (publ. Einaudi)
AuthorCesare Pavese
Original titleLa Luna e i Falò
  • Louise Sinclair (1952)
  • R. W. Flint (2002)
Publication date
January 1, 1948
AwardPEN Translation Prize (2003)

The Moon and the Bonfires is an English translation of the novel La Luna e i Falò, by the Italian poet and novelist Cesare Pavese. The book was written in Italian in 1949.[1] It is considered Pavese's best novel.[2]

The first English language translation was undertaken by Louise Sinclair in 1952. A more recent translation by R. W. Flint, published in 2002, uses the arguably more correct translation of The Moon and the Bonfires, taking account of the use of the plural i Falò in the original Italian title.[3]

The novel is set in the small town of Santo Stefano Belbo, in Piedmont, north-west Italy. The protagonist, known only by his nickname of Anguilla (Eel), has returned to his home town in the years immediately following the Second World War. He left twenty-five years earlier and had made his fortune in the United States. Returning to his home town, he finds many of the same smells and sights that filled his youth, but he also finds a town and its inhabitants that have been deeply changed by war and by the passage of time.

Awards and honors

In 2003, R.W. Flint's translation won the PEN Translation Prize.[4]

In 2016, The New York Review of Books and The Guardian named The Moon and the Bonfires one of the best books of the year.[5][6]


The Moon and the Bonfires was one of two Pavese novels (the other being Dialoghi con Leucò) to be adapted by Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub as part of their 1979 film From the Clouds to the Resistance.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Koffler, Richard, Review: The Essential Pavese Archived 2016-04-27 at the Wayback Machine, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Spring, 1969), pp. 286-288.
  2. ^ Cesare Pavese Archived 2008-06-14 at the Wayback Machine, Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  3. ^ The Moon and the Bonfires Archived 2008-04-30 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Review of Books.
  4. ^ "PEN Translation Prize". PEN America. 2020-06-10. Archived from the original on 2023-02-25. Retrieved 2023-02-27.
  5. ^ "The Best of NYRB 2016". New York Review Books. December 20, 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2023-02-28.
  6. ^ Tremain, Rose; Nicholls, David (2016-11-26). "Best books of 2016 – part one". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2019-11-04. Retrieved 2023-02-28.