Tobias Carroll at The Quarterly Conversation:
That an author whose chosen pseudonym is a conscious inversion of Napoleon Bonaparte would have a fondness for provocation is no real surprise. Malaparte’s work falls uneasily in the gulf between fiction and nonfiction: 1957’s The Kremlin Ball, newly translated into English by Jenny McPhee, is subtitled (Material For a Novel), and its opening pages set out exactly how fiction and nonfiction will intermingle. “The characters did not originate in the author’s imagination, but were drawn from life, each with his own name, face, words, and actions,” Malaparte writes.
In books like The Skin and Kaputt (the inspiration for the Destroyer album of the same name), Malaparte offered a firsthand view of fascism and its horrific effects, albeit from the perspective of an Italian who was, at one point, a supporter of Mussolini.