Tag: Books: Italian Literature

Review: Troubling Love

Posted 20 February, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Troubling Love
By: Elena Ferrante
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Following her mother’s untimely and mysterious death, Delia embarks on a voyage of discovery through the streets of her native Naples searching for the truth about her family. A series of mysterious telephone calls leads her to compelling and disturbing revelations about her mother’s final days.

This stylish fiction from the author of The Days of Abandonment is set in a beguiling but often hostile Naples, whose chaotic, suffocating streets become one of the book’s central motifs. A story about mothers and daughters and the complicated knot of lies and emotions that binds them.

After reading her Neapolitan books last year (see author tag) I was very keen to check out her three standalones. I was debating which of the three to start with and ended up picking up this novel first–planning on saving (and savouring) The Days of Abandonment for another day 😉

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Review: The Viceroys

Posted 18 January, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Viceroys
By: Federico de Roberto
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley

A classic of Sicilian Literature, first published in 1894

The Viceroys tells the story of three generations of the aristocratic Uzeda princes of Francalanza. De Roberto portrays a world undergoing fundamental change, where the family must try every means in order to hold onto their power and position. Through this drama, a portrait of a complete society is carefully drawn as it discards the old ways and stumbles into an uncertain future. At every level the stains of corruption and decay taints lives, and hope. A lost literary classic, comparable to Lampedusa’s The Leopard, The Viceroys is an important novel that still resonates with a contemporary readership.

I requested an eARC of this book as I’m always excited to check out more classic Italian literature. This is indeed a lost literary classic in that it’s not as well known as Lampedusa’s The Leopard (which I have yet to read) and Manzoni’s The Betrothed (sitting on my TBR queue right now). So I was curious. This book will be available on 19 January 2016.

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Review: Hollow Heart

Posted 23 October, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Hollow Heart
By: Viola di Grado
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In this courageous, inventive, and intelligent novel, Viola di Grado tells the story of a suicide and what follows. She has given voice to an astonishing vision of life after life, portraying the awful longing and sense of loss that plague the dead, together with the solitude provoked by the impossibility of communicating. The afterlife itself is seen as a dark, seething place where one is preyed upon by the cruel and unrelenting elements. The Hollow Heart will frighten as it provokes, enlighten as it causes concern. If ever there were a novel that follows Kafka’s prescription for a book to be a frozen axe for the sea within us, it is The Hollow Heart.

I’ve heard good things about Viola di Grado’s works and she was definitely recommended if you enjoyed works from other Italian authors like Elena Ferrante (see author tag). So I decided to check out this book (though her first novel, 70% Acrylic 30% Wool, sounds very interesting too and got a lot of great reviews!), even though the little mention at the above quote about Kafka sort of left me hesitating for a moment (not a big fan of Kafka).

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Review: The Story of the Lost Child

Posted 10 September, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Story of the Lost Child (L’amica geniale #4)
By: Elena Ferrante
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Here is the dazzling saga of two women, the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both are now adults; life’s great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women’s friendship has remained the gravitational center of their lives.

Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up—a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received books. In this final book, she has returned to Naples. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from the city of her birth. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity with the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Proximity to the world she has always rejected only brings her role as its unacknowledged leader into relief. For Lila is unstoppable, unmanageable, unforgettable!

Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous and a world undergoing epochal change, the story of a lifelong friendship is told with unmatched honesty and brilliance. The four volumes in this series constitute a long remarkable story that readers will return to again and again, and every return will bring with it new revelations.

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw me tweet a bit of my exciting in the hours leading up to the publication of this book. I had pretty much devoured the first three novels of this series back in August and preordered this book. So yeah, pretty much hovered over the internet midnight of September 1st, waiting for the confirmation that my purchase went through and the ebook was downloaded. I meant to read it a bit slowly, reading only the first two chapters…which became ten…which became a third of the book…Then finally I said what the heck and just read the whole book :3 Contains spoilers if you haven’t read any of the books in this series!

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Review: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Posted 9 September, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (L’amica geniale #3)
By: Elena Ferrante
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

In this third Neapolitan novel, Elena and Lila, the two girls whom readers first met in My Brilliant Friend, have become women. Lila married at sixteen and has a young son; she has left her husband and the comforts of her marriage brought and now works as a common laborer. Elena has left the neighborhood, earned her college degree, and published a successful novel, all of which has opened the doors to a world of learned interlocutors and richly furnished salons. Both women have attempted are pushing against the walls of a prison that would have seem them living a life of mystery, ignorance and submission. They are afloat on the great sea of opportunities that opened up during the nineteen-seventies. Yet they are still very much bound to see each other by a strong, unbreakable bond.

And here we are, the third novel in her Neapolitan quartet. Having zipped through the first two books in the series within a day, it seemed I did not slow down with the third book, even though the fourth one was on pre-order and wouldn’t be released until September (now). Nonetheless I had to find out what happened next in Elena and Lila’s story. May contain spoilers ahead, especially if you haven’t read the previous installments!

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