Letters to Marina

Dacia Maraini, Author Crossing Press $8.95 (207p) ISBN 978-0-89594-262-3
This translation of Maraini's epistolary work marks the introduction of the prolific and multitalented Italian poet, playwright and novelist to an American audience. Bianca, the author of the book's 100 letters, has fled Rome to work on her neglected novel and untangle herself from an obsessive, intermittent love affair with Marina, whom Bianca depicts as willful, seductive, sensual and temperamental. The unmailed letters are Bianca's remembering of the relationship, along with the particulars of daily life in Rome and among their circle of friends. Sentence after sentence startles with frank observation of detail interwoven with intense fantasy. For example, when Bianca goes to the fish market, she imagines herself a woman of the prior century, ""whose hands were covered in shining scales and who had all her life been familiar with this dead white fish the smell of entrails and putrescence the faint scent of carnations.'' The power of such keen, poetic narrative sustains interest, despite an almost complete lack of incident. With its extraordinary imagery and bold use of a well-worn form, Maraini's American debut will fascinate many readers of contemporary fiction. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Paperback - 207 pages - 978-0-89594-310-1
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