Friday, June 16, 2017

When Ferrante Isn't Enough

It's summer and you've got Ferrante Fever. You've read all of the Neapolitan Quartet, and maybe even some of her earlier, shorter fiction, and maybe her book of essays Frantumaglia, and her "children's" book The Beach at Night, and now you don't know what to do. You want more Italian literature- you're even willing to read translations- but you don't know where to start.

I can help.

Here are some of my favorite Italian novels in translation for Ferrante fanatics.

Swimming to Elba, by Sylvia Avallone. It's about two girls growing up, and apart, in a working class town in Tuscany. Translated by Antony Shugaar.

Happy Ending, by Francesca Durante, is a beautiful art-house-movie of a novel about wealthy family, also in Tuscany, dealing with love, loss and change. Translated by Annapaola Concogni.

From the Land of the Moon, by Milena
Agus, is a tiny perfect gem about a woman who finds out her life is not worthless after all . Translated by Ann Goldstein.

Crossroads or As God Commands, by Niccolo Ammaniti, about a group of friends with wild dreams to make their lives better and how it all goes wrong one stormy night in Italy, and a coming of age story about a 14 year old who finds himself picking up the pieces of their disastrous decisions.  Translated by Jonathan Hunt.

Quiet Chaos, by Sandro Veronesi, is about a man whose life is falling apart. His partner dies as he saves the life of another woman. And now he has to care for his young daughter and put the pieces back together. Simple, but perfect, and winner of Italy's Strega Prize. Translated by Michael F. Moore.

I Hadn't Understood, by Diego de Silva, is a funny and
moving crime novel (I know, right?) about a loser trying to save his career and win the woman of his dreams, avoid the mob and solve a murder. Spoiler alert: it works. Translated by Antony Shugaar.

Eva Sleeps, by Francesca Melandri, is a heart-string-puller about a woman who has a little girl out of wedlock in 1950s/1960s South Tyrol, and what happens to that girl when she grows up. It's a wonderful story. Translated by Katherine Gregor.

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