cover image Farewell, Ghosts

Farewell, Ghosts

Nadia Terranova, trans. from the Italian by Ann Goldstein. Seven Stories, $18.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-64421-007-9

Italian writer Terranova’s heartfelt English-language debut looks at a childhood trauma’s derailing effects on a young woman. Ida Laquidara, a 30-something writer in Rome, is called home to Messina, Sicily, by her mother to sort through the leftover ephemera of her childhood before the house is renovated and eventually sold. She dutifully agrees, figuring it will be easy since she cares about nothing except a box that contains objects left by her father, which trigger painful memories. Upon Ida’s arrival, she is haunted by recurring nightmares and visions of her father, who abandoned the family when she was 13. While navigating a fraught relationship with her mother and the ways in which too little seems to have changed at the house, Ida reflects on her father’s mental illness and attempts to connect with an old friend. When a surprise tragedy casts Ida’s own ruminations in a new light, closure for the loss of her father feels more within reach as she devises a plan for what to do with the artifacts in the box. Terranova writes striking flashbacks that conjure the power of old wounds to produce new sadness. Free of cliché and sentimentality, this sharp examination of a life interrupted is one to savor. (Aug.)