Many of those familiar with Giovannino Guareschi’s Don Camillo books are unaware that among the Italian humorist’s other translated writings are several volumes set in other “little worlds.” For instance, there’s Guareschi’s world of home and hearth, represented in English by three books of comic stories about the author’s family. And there’s also the world of Continental high society, or GG’s stylized version thereof, which readers in English can visit via two charming farces dating from the beginning of the author’s career. Finally, there is the dark world of the German internment camp where Guareschi spent several years during the Second World War; his collected prison writings round out the works available in English.  

GG types

Here are the titles of the so-called “non-Camillo books” in English, given in order of US publication date. Over the next few days, I intend to devote a separate post to each one of them.

  1. The House That Nino Built (1953): collected pieces about the familial misadventures of author “Nino” Guareschi, his wife “Margherita,” and children “Albertino” & Carlotta (aka “the Duchess”). Does not appear to correspond to any Italian book.
  2. My Secret Diary (1958): not an actual account of prison life, but a collection of pieces, some just fragments, written by GG while interned by the Nazis from 1943-45. Published in Italian as Diario clandestino.
  3. My Home, Sweet Home (1966): more family stories; corresponds to the 1954 Italian collection Corrierino delle famiglie.
  4. A Husband in Boarding School (US title) / School for Husbands (UK) (1967): a translation, more than two decades after the fact, of GG’s 1944 comedy of manners Il marito in collegio
  5. Duncan and Clotilda (1968): an even later translation of an even earlier novel, 1942’s Wodehousian farce Il destino si chiama Clotilde.
  6. The Family Guareschi (1970): posthumous collection of later family stories wriiten in a decidedly more melancholy tone; published in Italian as Vita in famiglia.

I referred to the above as “available” in English, but in fact all of these are, like the Don Camillo books, sadly out of print. Indeed, if you see a version at Amazon (etc.) with a print date of later than 1970, it’s a pirated edition and exists in violation of the express wishes of the Guareschi heirs. To find and purchase books by GG in English, I recommend instead a secondhand locator service like the Advanced Book Exchange.