The Long Road of Sand, by famed, controversial and politically committed writer, Pier Paolo Pasolini, is a unique edition: essay-diary, original typescript, photographs and poetry. From a unique individual who was able to hold within himself deep social clashes and contradictions, Pasolini was at once a Catholic, a communist and queer and was murdered in the prime of his life by one who refused his advances.
Pasolini’s essays here were published first by an Italian magazine, extracts from the diary of his road-trip he took along the Italian coastline during the summer of 1959.
Succinctly written, accompanied by the stunning photography of Phillipe Séclier that visually re-traces Pasolini’s summer journey, Pasolini — even in English translation — shows his power of observation and story-making. The Long Road of Sand, like his Petrolio (the outline, sketches, notes and brainstorms of a unfinished novel), is a good read for any Pasolinista. Between a honed essay and an unfinished novel, you are able to see his genius at work. Breathtaking, sober, hard work, Pasolini shows how the writer’s consciousness and language inspire.
Published in a fine edition in English translation by Contrato in 2015, Pasolini’s text is graced by Séclier’s black and white photographs, which create ambiance and context for Pasolini’s road-trip essays. The photographs create the illusion that Pasolini was published today. Travelogue in a literary vein, Pasolini wrote big and small with heart as he shares the characters and situations he encounters on this summer journey.
As a writer, I read to learn how to write. As a reader, I write to learn how to read. Pasolini’s work always creates an explosive tension between reading and writing because we already know his story and how it ends. Between the beginning and the ending there are his stories, poems, novels, films and relationships that nourish us and keep his memory, his way of being, alive.