Curt Leviant

Coming December 15th!
Available for Preorder!

ISBN 978-1-60489-354-0, Trade Paper, $18.95

Praise for Curt Leviant’s Novels:


Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow on The Yemenite Girl

“I read straight through without a stop and with much interest.  I enjoyed every turn of the story… The Yemenite Girl is done with great tact, feeling and skill.”

  Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel on The Man Who Thought He Was Messiah  

“This beautiful and moving fiction is the work of a gifted writer.  Read it and plunge into an enchanting spiritual universe, filled with imagination, humor and warmth.”



While in the archives room of the Siena Municipal Public Library, I noticed a cardboard box labeled “Lorenzini?” Since Lorenzini wrote Pinocchio under the pen-name Collodi, I opened the box and was astounded to see a handwritten manuscript titled: Tinocchia, the Adventures of a Jewish Puppetta. I photographed the pages, and soon enough translated the story into English. Tinocchia, the story’s narrator, is created by her carpenter father, Yossi, who named her after the Hebrew word for “baby,” tinok, and as a nod to his fellow woodworker, Gepetto, the creator of Pinocchio. While riding on her magic cart, Tinocchia bumps into a puppetto who introduces himself as Nipocchio. Naturally, the puppetto’s nose grows . . . Pinocchio and Tinocchia share adventures: Tinocchia becomes involved with Samael, the Dark Angel; Pinocchio and Tinocchia encounter pirates on a sailboat which gets overturned in a storm. One day Pinocchio visits asa real boy and offers Tinocchia a magic salve. She scolds him that he has no right to take the salve. In any case, she does not want mortality; she wants to live. Pinocchio turns back into a puppetto to be with her. And, like in a true fairy tale, they live happily ever . . . after . . . presumably.

About the Author:

Curt Leviant has authored nine critically acclaimed works of fiction. He has won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award and writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Jerusalem Foundation, the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, and the New Jersey Arts Council. His work has been included in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards, and other anthologies – and praised by two Nobel laureates: Saul Bellow and Elie Wiesel. With the publication of Leviant’s novels into French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Romanian and other languages – some of which have become international best sellers – reviewers have hailed his books as masterpieces and compared his imaginative fiction to that of Nabokov, Borges, Kafka, Italo Calvino, Vargas Llosa, Harold Pinter, and Tolstoy. The French version of Diary of an Adulterous Woman was singled out as one of the Twenty Best Books of the Year in France and among the seven best novels. Kafka’s Son in the French translation was hailed on French television as a “work of genius” and by French critics as “a masterpiece.” But the most memorable praise has come from Chauncey Mabe, Book Editor of South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, who wrote: “Curt Leviant is one of the greatest novelists you’ve never heard of. His serio-comic novels, including Diary of an Adulterous Woman (the best novel I’ve read during the past ten years), should place him in company with Joseph Heller or even Saul Bellow…”

Excerpt from Book:




            Once upon a time there was a puppetta.

            What’s a puppetta?

            Definition coming.

            And what’s its name?

            Read on, dear reader, read on, and soon you will know.


            Maybe even sooner than that.



            My name is Tinocchia.

            You notice I don’t begin this true narrative, this memoir, by opening with the words, “Call me Tinocchia,” in imitation of that popular American novel about a great whale.  But if you like whales before long you will meet a great fish.

            Tinocchia has a familiar ring, doesn’t it? I’m a puppetta, that is, a girl puppet (a boy puppet, he’s a puppetto). Yes, Tinocchia is a rather strange name, I know, so un-Italian. No other girl in Italy has it, but you must agree that it has a thoroughly Italian sound.

            You see, my name is a clever Hebrew concoction thought up by my Papa. Everyone calls him Giuseppe, but I call him by his Hebrew name, Yossi.

            Yossi’s good friend, Gepetto, was also a woodworker like my Papa. Some years ago he created a puppet, actually a marionette, to whom he gave a name – well, I don’t have to tell you, for everyone, as the famous puppetto himself would cleverly say, it’s a name that everyone knose.* Soon thereafter Gepetto invited Yossi to come take a look.

---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---

*In the original, “conaso”, a pun conflation of the two Italian words, conosce (knows) and naso (nose).

 If conaso is separated into two words – con naso – it can also mean “with nose”. My rendition, “knose”,

is but a pale attempt at recreating the anonymous author’s brilliant Italian word play.



            This inspired Papa to make a puppetto too.




             To name me. Papa Yossi played with the Hebrew word for “baby”, tinok, and with a nod to his friend’s creation, he called me Tinocchia. Much later he would tell me many more fascinating details about my name and its links to the Hebrew alphabet, and even to the opening words of the Torah.