Family: Two Novellas

Natalia Ginzburg, Author Seaver Books $0 (111p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0856-2
Woman of letters and member of the Italian Parliament, Ginzburg ( All Our Yesterdays , The City and the House ) has, in the two novellas that comprise this volume, rendered the essence of byzantine Italian family life and the ironies of existence. In the title story, what begins as a routine trip to the movies results in a rekindling of an intense friendship between a man and a woman, each now married and surrounded by family. In Borghesia , ``a woman who had never kept any animals was given a cat.'' He is called Fur, and in his short lifetime with herhe dies in a fall from a rooftop because ``cats lost their sense of balance when they made love''he has freedoms that his mistress would never contemplate for herself. In both novellas, the events that take place, over a long period of time, culminate in the death of the central character. Ginzburg is telling us that this is how life happens, that choices are made, and the most mundane moment leads to the next choice. Stockman's translation succeeds in conveying Ginzburg's captivating, liquid prose. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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