Abecedary

Goffredo Parise, Author, James Marcus, Translator, Natalia Ginzburg, Afterword by Marlboro Press $17.95 (147p) ISBN 978-0-910395-60-1
Parise (1929-1986), recipient of Italy's prestigious Strega and Viareggio prizes, described this poetic collection as a ``reader for beginners, on the sentiments of man.'' The first English-language translation of Sillibario N.1 (1972), Abecedary offers 22 meditations on subjects grouped alphabetically from ``Amore'' (love) and ``Affetto'' (affection), to ``Eleganza'' (elegance) and ``Famiglia'' (family). Each addresses the ineffability of joy--the barely realized moments of human happiness that surface, fleetingly and unexpectedly, then are submerged under the grayness and sadness of daily life. Parise roots these transcendant experiences in settings at once precise and general: ``Bacio'' (kiss), for example, begins, ``One summer day, a fifty-year-old woman with a beautiful Greek name strolled alongside a river, and as she gazed at a field of high grass with poplars at the water's edge, she remembered a kiss.'' Disciplined and profound, Parise achieves throughout the elusive equilibrium between the explicit and the implied. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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