Ruin

Beppe Fenoglio, Author
Beppe Fenoglio, Author Marlboro Press $15.95 (94p) ISBN 978-0-910395-83-0
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 94 pages - 978-0-910395-84-7
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Congratulations are due the publisher for bringing out the first English-language edition of this seminal work of Italian neorealism. Widely considered one of the most influential Italian writers of the 20th century, Fenoglio (1922-1963) invests the struggles of common men and women with dignity and grace. Here, Agostino, the son of peasants, is sent to work as a bond servant for Tobia, a farmer so avaricious that he virtually works his own wife to death. Meanwhile, Agostino's beloved younger brother, sent by a benefactress to a seminary, suffers under equally harsh conditions, and the young women Agostino meets are bullied by their families into marrying cruel but relatively prosperous older men. Fenoglio's hero remains unbowed--instead, his trials strengthen his determination. Shepley's translation suggests, if not exactly replicates, the power of Fenoglio's prose. Without imitating local dialects, importing heavy symbols or invoking explicit literary conventions, Fenoglio compresses language so that it approximates the speech of peasants. In all, a deeply felt, deeply moving work. (Dec.)
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