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A Place to Live and Other Selected Essays of Natalia Ginzburgby Natalia Ginzburg
Synopses & Reviews
Chosen and translated by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Clear, honest, quietly strong...Ginzburg compels us to examine the smallest and largest aspects of our lives in a way that is inspiring and exhilarating....Carefully chosen and beautifully translated by the American writer Lynne Sharon Schwartz. --Sian Williams, Times Literary Supplement
Clarity, precision and wit mark the work of Natalia Ginzburg. --The New York Times Book Review
Ginzburg draws her readers into her deceptively charming essays with cascades of alluring, everyday detail, then stealthily broaches moral questions of great weight and complexity. Wryly witty, acutely observant, and unfailingly valiant, Ginzburg is a revelation, a spur, and a joy. --Booklist
Praise for Natalia Ginzburg: A glowing light of modern Italian literature... Ginzburg's magic is the utter simplicity of her prose, suddenly illuminated by one word that makes a lightning stroke of a plain phrase.... As direct and clean as if it were carved in stone, it yet speaks thoughts of the heart. --The New York Times
Arguably one of Italy's greatest contemporary writers, Natalia Ginzburg has been best known in America as a writer's writer, quiet beloved of her fellow wordsmiths. This collection of personal essays chosen by the eminent American writer Lynne Sharon Schwartz from four of Ginzburg's books written over the course of Ginzburg's lifetime, was a many-years long project for Schwartz. These essays are deeply felt, but also disarmingly accessible. Selected from Le piccole virtu, Mai devi domandarmi, and Vita immaginaria, here are autobiographical essays about the life of a writer, motherhood, the hardship of the years immediately following World War II in Italy, and also on searching for an apartment, and starting a new job. Full of self-doubt and searing insight, Ginzburg is merciless in her attempts to describe herself. Paradoxically, her self-deprecating remarks reveal her deeper confidence in her own eye and writing ability. A Place to Live also includes long excerpts from Serena Cruz o la vera giustizia, the culminating nonfiction work of Ginzburg's career, concerning an infant girl named Serena who was separated from her adoptive parents by the Italian government. The conflict Ginzburg outlines with such force and clarity--humane values vs. bureaucratic rigidity--recently set off a new wave of debate in Italy when the Turin court forbade contact between Serena and her brother.
Natalia Ginzburg (1916-91) is recognized as one of the foremost Italian writers of the twentieth century, and one of the most eloquent and incisive commentators on postwar Italy. Her works include novels, stories, essays, plays, and a biography of Alessandro Manzoni. Her 1963 autobiographical novel, Lessico famigliare (Family Sayings) won the Strega prize. She died in Rome in 1991.
Lynne Sharon Schwartz is the author of thirteen works of fiction and nonfiction, including the widely acclaimed memoir, Ruined by Reading, and Disturbances in the field, a novel. Her first collection of poetry, In Solitary, was published in 2002 by Sheep Meadow Press. Schwartz is a native and current New Yorker.
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