Dino Buzzati is one of my favorite writers. His most famous works are the novel The Tartar Steppe and the short story "The Falling Girl." (Sadly, the rest of his work has been out of print.)

Rejoice, however, for Ecco Press has just reprinted Buzzati’s groundbreaking collection Catastrophe and Other Stories. Originally published in 1965 it is a collection of existentialist catastrophe stories which are starkly suited to our times.

In "Catastrophe" a man is on a train speeding towards its destination while outside people are fleeing in the opposite direction and frantically gesturing for the train to reverse course (we never learn why); it continues full speed ahead; oblivious, apparently, to the commotion outside. (Sound familiar?)

There is also "The Epidemic," where you are suspected of being against the government if you come down with the flu, "The Landslide," about a catastrophe that has supposedly occurred yet no evidence can be found—or is it that the event has yet to occur?—"The Collapse of the Boliverna," where the crumbling of a single brick causes an entire building to collapse, etc ...

A cornucopia of earthly perils. Buzzati’s style is journalistic with touches of magic and surrealism. Highly recommended!