Dominique Fernandez

Dominique Fernandez is a graduate of the École normale supérieure and holds an advanced degree in Italian (1955). He began teaching at the Institut Français in Naples in 1957. After successfully defending his doctoral thesis, L’Échec de Pavese, he was named professor of Italian at the University of Haute-Bretagne.
He has worked as a writer and literary critic since 1958, starting at La Quinzaine Littéraire and L’Express, and then for Le Nouvel Observateur.
In 1974, his Porporino ou les Mystères de Naples was awarded the Prix Médicis. The novel recounts the life of a Neapolitan castrato in the eighteenth century. Its colorful, epic language can be read on many levels, historical, ideological, and psychoanalytical. The novel was later adapted as an opera, which was performed at the Aix-en-Provence Lyric Arts Festival.

The novel

Santa Clara

Dominique Fernandez Sofitel Santa Clara Carthagène

On a whim, I ordered an amaretto to conclude my meal of lemon-marinated sea bass and crab ravioli. The sweet almond-flavored Italian liqueur is not easily found even in Paris, so its availability seemed highly improbable here in Colombia, a 12-hour plane flight from Rome, in Cartagena de Indias, whose name is less intriguing for its exoticism than it is for its chant-like intonation. But five minutes later, the waiter appeared with a tray on which there was a large, empty wine glass as well as a small cylindrical one filled with a dose of the requested liqueur. His left arm held behind his back, the waiter carefully poured the contents of the small glass into the larger one with his right hand and then departed with the small glass on the tray. In the days that followed, the same ceremony would be repeated: large empty glass, small full glass, the liqueur decanted from one to the other, always with…

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