In October 1980, the Czech astronomer Z. Vávrová of the Klet’ Observatory at Ceske Budejovice discovered Planet Number 03479, a celestial body the size of a large asteroid, in the nether reaches of the cosmos. The astronomer named it after his favorite writer, Curzio Malaparte. A literary homage drifting in outer space would have appealed to a writer who inhabited an unclassifiable planet of his own, a writer known for ingenious deceptions, morbid hilarity, and what one might call heartfelt insincerity.
However engaged he became in the splendors and miseries of the sad century he lived in, Malaparte carried himself with an air of antic dignity, an almost posthumous detachment redolent of a cosmic private joke. He embraced ideas with the grip of an octopus and abandoned them as casually as Kleenex.
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