Howard Buten – When I was five I killed myself

The language of innocence

Is it possible to fall in love at eight years old?
The answer is inside this small book. And the words used by the author are not a writer’s, nor a psychologist’s, least of all those of a clown. Howard Buten, in his real life, is all these things, but in his literary work he is even more than this: he is the faithful and wonderful translator of a little man’s thoughts, a little man who has been confined to a mental hospital by the grown up people’s sad and standardized world.
The story is told directly by the main character; he jumps the way children do from the crumbled memories of his life to a present restricted by the bars of the hospital. The greatness of style of this masterpiece does not depend on the refinement of the writing, nor does it feed on learned words, but it stands out in the essential sobriety of real things. The tale lives in the delicacy of feeling shown by Burt, the little hero who, without being aware he is doing so, totally falls in love with Jessica, a girl his own age.
This is top-level literature; sometimes the explicitness of certain situations is disturbing but, at the same time, it is of an unbearable sweetness.
‘But isn’t this what you adults call love?’

Translation by Paola Roveda (edited by Roma O’Flaherty)

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Giorgio Olivari
Giorgio Olivari was born in Brescia in the last century. He has been a professional in the field of industrial design for more than thirty years. After the first forty years as a reader he discovered writing by chance: a life’s joke. His forever partner enrolls him in a creative writing course: maybe for fun, more likely to get rid of him. A spark that, once lit, does not go out but becomes a narrative, stories, thoughts; some of which published by BESA in “Pretesti Sensibili - Sensitive Excuses” (2008). His first collection of short stories, “Futili Emotivi- Futile Emotions”, was published by Carta & Penna Editore in 2010. His passion for literature led him to “infect” other readers by coordinating reading groups: “Arcobaleno” in Paderno Franciacorta, “Chiare Lettere” in Nave. He actively collaborates with the literary magazine Inkroci with reviews and stories.