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The Tartar Steppe By Dino Buzzati

Reviewed,Boyd Tonkin
Friday 06 April 2007 00:00 BST

A crisp salute to Canongate for reviving this mysterious classic, written by a maverick Italian author in 1938. A young officer, Drogo, spends a vastly prolonged tour of duty at a remote mountain fortress, waiting for a foe who may not exist. Droll, eerie and (in Stuart Hood's translation) as mesmerising for the reader as the lonely fort is for Drogo, this novel occupies a unique strategic outpost - midway between Kafka and Italo Calvino.

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