Tag: Books: Italian Literature


Review: Frantumaglia

Posted 28 April, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey
By: Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

In this collection of writings and responses gathered from over 30 years of correspondence, the reclusive Italian author addresses her unwavering decision to remain anonymous, her literary inspirations, Italian politics and culture, and the role of the writer (and the publisher) in modern society. Ferrante’s voice is as direct, penetrating, acute, inspiring, and intimate as it is in her acclaimed novels.

This book invites readers into Elena Ferrante’s workshop. It offers a glimpse into the drawers of her writing desk, those drawers from which emerged her three early standalone novels and the four installments of My Brilliant Friend, known in English as the Neapolitan Quartet. Consisting of letters, essays, reflections, and interviews, it is a unique depiction of an author who embodies a consummate passion for writing.

In these pages Ferrante answers many of her readers’ questions she addresses her choice to stand aside and let her books live autonomous lives. She discusses her thoughts and concerns as her novels are being adapted into films. She talks about the challenge of finding concise answers to interview questions. She explains the joys and the struggles of writing, the anguish of composing a story only to discover that that story isn’t good enough. She contemplates her relationship with psychoanalysis, with the cities she has lived in, with motherhood, with feminism, and with her childhood as a storehouse for memories, impressions, and fantasies. The result is a vibrant and intimate self-portrait of a writer at work.

I finally read it, omg. This book has been sitting on my TBR pile for some time now. I’ve read pretty much all of her books to date save for maybe one or two of the more recent stuff, but I was pretty excited for this one because it promised to provide insight into her writing process her thoughts aout writing and her stories and whatnot.

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Review: Eva Sleeps

Posted 6 April, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Eva Sleeps
By: Francesca Melandri, Katherine Gregor (Translator)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Out of the struggles and conflicts in the border regions of Northern Italy and Austria and the rich history that has resulted from this meeting of cultures, comes a family story that embodies the history of nations. Eva, a forty-year-old public relations professional living in Northern Italy, recieves an unexpected message from Southern Italy. Vito, a man she briefly knew as a child as a friend of her mother’s, is very ill and would like to see her one last time. He is a retired police officer who was stationed in the north during the late-sixties, a period rife with tension, protest, and violence. These troubles, however, did not stop a young hapless policeman from falling in love with the “wrong” woman, a girl named Gerda from Austrian Tyrol, an inventive and accomplished cook, a single mother with a rich family history of her own, a northerner, the sister of a terrorist, and Gerda’s mother.

Vito’s affair with Gerda was a passionate one, but what was the nature of their love? And if he loved her so passionately why did he return to Calabria? What scars did those years leave on Vito, and on Gerda? It’s time for Eva to find out.

I love how diverse Europa Editions is in bringing translated fiction to the English-speaking audience. I’m always interested to read the latest from the European literary scene, like in Italy. So this book has been on my wishlist for some time; picked it up a few years ago, but then it took me another few years before I finally read it 😛

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Review: Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet

Posted 9 July, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet
By: Amara Lakhous
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

It’s October 2006. In a few months Romania will join the European Union. Meanwhile, the northern Italian town of Turin has been rocked by a series of deadly crimes involving Albanians and Romanians. Is this the latest eruption of a clan feud dating back centuries, or is the trouble being incited by local organized crime syndicates who routinely “infect” neighborhoods and then “cleanse” them in order to earn big on property developments? Enzo Laganà, born in Turin to Southern Italian parents, is a journalist with a wry sense of humor who is determined to get to the bottom of this crime wave. But before he can do so, he has to settle a thorny issue concerning Gino, a small pig belonging to his Nigerian neighbor, Joseph. Who brought the pig to the neighborhood mosque? And for heaven’s sake why?

I’ve been eyeing this book for years. From the intriguing and absurd title to the Italian setting to the timely issues of immigration in the EU at the time with the expansion of members, I was very keen to read it. After having it on my wishlist for ages, I finally picked it up a few months ago–yay! 🙂

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 3 May, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Hallo everyone! This is my first review here on the blog in quite a while, and suffice to say I’m starting off small because I read a small bit in the last few weeks but unfortunately didn’t jot down enough notes to remember them all in-depth. So here we are instead 😛 Included in this batch are:


Drafts, Fragments, and Poems: The Complete Poetry
By: Joan Murray
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The first appearance of this award-winning writer’s work since the 1940s, this collection, which includes an introduction by John Ashbery, restores Joan Murray’s striking poetry to its originally intended form.

Though John Ashbery hailed Joan Murray as a key influence on his work, Murray’s sole collection, Poems, published after her death at the early age of twenty-four and selected by W. H. Auden for inclusion in the Yale Series of Younger Poets, has been almost entirely unavailable for the better part of half a century. Poems was put together by Grant Code, a close friend of Murray’s mother, and when Murray’s papers, long thought to be lost, reappeared in 2013, it became clear that Code had exercised a heavy editorial hand. This new collection, edited by Farnoosh Fathi from Murray’s original manuscripts, restores Murray’s raw lyricism and visionary lines, while also including a good deal of previously unpublished work, as well as a selection of her exuberant letters.

Okay, I never heard of Joan Murray until I saw the Instagram account for NYRB post about this upcoming collection and posted a few snippets of her poetry. I was intrigued–read a lot of high praise about her work–so I decided to check her work out. Admittedly I read this book a few months ago and did not write any notes anywhere so my memory of my reaction to this book is a bit hazy but I remember enjoying it, the imagery choice she uses was quite intriguing. But the impression that was left in my mind first and foremost was that reminder that poetry can be whatever you make it to be, however you want to express yourself using the words at your disposal, arranged by way your mind, perspective, and creativity makes of it.

So yeah, if you’re looking for new poets from the early twentieth century to check out, definitely look in to this book! It’s great that NYRB is showcasing so many different poets from different periods, I’m finding out about lots of new poets this way 🙂

Rating: ★★★★☆

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So You Want to Read… (Poetry, Part IV)

Posted 27 April, 2018 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. Anyway, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I figured it’s a good time to bust out these feature again and talk about some of the poetry books and poets that I would whole-heartedly recommend on checking out, whether you’re already a big reader of poetry or if you’re checking them out for the first time.

  • Louise Labe — Ever been in love (reciprocated or unrequited)? Well, her poetry captures it all–the highs, the lows, the hopes, and the in-betweens. What’s also really cool if you’re a language buff or enthusiast is that the NYRB collection is bilingual so you can read the poem in its original French or Italian (review).
  • Miguel Hernandez — Easily hands down my second favourite Spanish poet after Federico Garcia Lorca. His use of imagery, the emotions that he captures in his words is just amazing and gripping…I don’t know what else to say about his poetry, it’s something to experience; I’m so glad NYPB published his works for an English-speaking audience (review).
  • Giuseppe Ungaretti — I likened his poetry to that of Federico Garcia Lorca’s; there’s something about his use of imagery, the sparse but perplexing and illuminating themes he tackles in his works. This collection of selected poetry (review) is the only one I could find that’s available in English but it’s worth checking out, especially as I hadn’t encountered much Italian poetry until last year.
  • Faraway — There’s a lot of micro-poets out there on Instagram that it can perhaps be a bit fatiguing. But I’ve been following Faraway on Instagram for more than a year and what I find that resonates with me with their work is how, despite its briefness and its micro nature, it doesn’t feel bogged down in stylistics compared to Leav Lang or Nayyirah Waheed; it’s accessible and they write about experiences and feelings we can relate to on a daily basis. Anyway I was delighted to see they collected their poetry into a book, Sad Birds Still Sing (review).
  • Anne Michaels — My brief review of her latest collection, All We Saw, won’t be published here on the blog until…next week, I believe, but nonetheless her sparse but introspective prose has definitely resonated with me. I can’t believe I didn’t read her stuff sooner…and she’s Canadian! Based here in Toronto! But yeah, her work first caught my attention when Penguin Random House, in promoting her latest book, posted one of her latest poems (not included in her latest collection by the way, which was a bit of a bummer), May Love Seize You.



And that’s my list! Do you read poetry? Curious on checking these out? If you want to check out more poetry, there’s of course my poetry books to check out 😉 Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂