cover image New Italian Women: A Collection of Short Fiction

New Italian Women: A Collection of Short Fiction

Grazia Deledda, Dacia Maraini. Italica Press, $15 (220pp) ISBN 978-0-934977-16-6

Despite quixotic editing, this omnibus demonstrates the flexibility and sophistication of contemporary Italian fiction by women. Many writers here are not ``new'' (e.g., 1926 Nobelist Grazia Deledda, Elsa Morante, Natalia Ginzburg); half are represented by fiction that is ``short'' only because it is excerpted, often disadvantageously, from novels; and superfluous footnotes mar these pages. Nevertheless King, a translator (Vasco Pratolini's Family Chronicle ), includes riveting, previously untranslated works. Maria Occhipinti's autobiographical and impassioned ``The Benedictines'' describes a political prisoner's cruel confinement to a Sicilian jail managed by nuns and explicitly advocates reforms; Fabrizia Ramondino portrays a Neapolitan octogenarian matriarch in ``Perfetta's Day''; Milena Milani offers three lightning-swift vignettes; ``The Tree'' showcases Anna Maria Ortese's brilliant prose style. (Oct.)