From the Land of the Moon

Milena Agus, trans. from the Italian by Ann Goldstein, Europa (Penguin, dist.), $15 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-60945-001-4
In her debut novel, Agus follows the fortunes of a Sardinian woman whose adventures begin as WWII comes to an end; the unnamed narrator is her granddaughter who is about to be married. The woman had suitors, but with no firm proposals by 30, she was forced into a marriage to a widower whose experiences in the brothel dictate their life in the bedroom. Several miscarriages and kidney stones later, she is sent to thermal baths on the mainland for a cure, where she takes as her lover a war veteran whose kindness is in stark contrast to her husband's indifference. The veteran has a wife and daughter in Milan and she returns home to give birth to a son. Years later, she searches for her lost love, wandering the streets of Milan. The narrator constantly amends the tale, demonstrating the uncertainty of stories passed down. Agus's descriptions of the everyday are as beautiful and haunting as her portrayal of life's most dramatic episodes. Add an unexpected ending and the result is a graceful, powerful book. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 12/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
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