So perhaps it was precisely the fact that he would never quite adore her that kept her trying to get herself adored by him and then punishing him for not adoring her. So I think they were together for about 20 years, and to me she is one of the top four or five narrators in 20th century Italian literature. This book is completely unique. The voice is very strange and the story is told from a distance. His mother is dead — she died in childbirth.
His father, who he adores and thinks of as a very great hero, is always away on business, whatever that business may be, in Naples. It reads almost as a fairy tale at the beginning and it becomes really quite a terrifying psychological reality as the book proceeds. One of my favourites in any language, any time. You do get a sense of his imprisonment on the island, but also a reluctance to leave.
But the whole question of imprisonment, whether one is actually imprisoned in a mental idea about the world or whether reality is a prison and freedom is actually inventing a different idea of the world, is very rich in Morante. Given that poverty forced so many Italians to leave their homes to find work, is nostalgia for home a recurring theme in Italian literature?
Perhaps stronger than that is the tension between the local and regional dialect and the new and imposed language of unification. They spoke all their various dialects of Italian, and so Italian literature, which had to be largely written in Italian, was in a way being written in a second language by most people.
For example [Alessandro] Manzoni, who wrote the great founding novel of the new Italy in The Betrothed , says in his letters what a bore it is when he and his friends are talking together in a Milanese dialect and somebody comes in from a different region and they have to speak Italian, and how difficult it is to really express yourself freely in Italian. I think this is something Svevo felt a great deal.
So the question of home is often felt more in that tension between dialect and Italian than maybe in the question of emigrating. Pavese was a very difficult young man with all kinds of problems — above all, problems with women.
No One Home
He never really had a happy relationship with a woman. His notebooks are full of discussion about premature ejaculation and the difficulty of ever having a mature relationship with anybody. He became quite an important translator very early on in his life. Translation had become a way of hiding for him. I think a lot of translators find that.
Timothy Williams (author) - Wikipedia
Then he started writing himself, and they are all books about people who, in a certain sense, miss the action, as Pavese himself felt he missed the action. So in The Moon and the Bonfires , which is generally considered his masterpiece, we have a man who grew up as an orphan. He was abandoned on a church doorstep and grows up in this village in Piedmont. There is this sense of having missed everything happening and he would have liked to have been there in a way because what happened was heroic and his old friend was a major member of the partisans and the resistance.
But then gradually he begins to discover, through various dramatic events, what actually happened in the war among the partisans was absolutely disgraceful, and that there were executions and rapes and so on and so forth. His confusion is about whether he really wants to be involved in life or whether actually he was rather fortunate to have missed out on it.
That was either his final removal of himself from life or his first really dramatic action. Deeply pessimistic but a wonderful book. It was quite a number of years before Pavese was first published in the US — almost 50 years after his death. Is he a quite forgotten and underrated author? But there are an awful lot of authors out there in the world. He may not be that much read today, but people who do read him are obliged to realise what a big mind it is and what a fascinating experience.
Actually, Pavese was one of the first guys to really understand the big dangers and almost the horror of literary celebrity. Something really changed in the way that literature was presented after the war. It became part celebrity and that way of thinking about literature was entirely substituting any intelligent discussion or proper appreciation of writing. So he was kind of shocked when he won one of the literary prizes in Italy and had very conflicted feelings about what it meant to become successful.
It tells the story of a family, the Finzi-Contini, a rich family, and they have isolated themselves to a large extent in this very large villa outside the town. All their other education is private. They have one of those unbelievably frustrating relationships where you constantly feel that they are about to have sex but they never do. And in that sense the book is not completely different from Pavese — of how much you want to really engage in life and risk being involved and how much you want to be closed and isolated in a separate world.
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So in this garden they have every type of plant from all over the world. In their house they have every kind of book and every kind of painting. They try to control everything. They even have a separate telephone in every room. And the irony, of course, is that as the reader reads, they know right from the opening pages that these people are destined for the death camps — and that garden and that room, which seemed so safe, is actually just a space of denial because the world outside is changing.
Although you are not actually told about their fate, you are aware of what is going to happen to them from the very beginning. You have this sense of them sliding towards this terrible end. Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books or even just what you say about them please email us at editor fivebooks. Five Books interviews are expensive to produce.
If you've enjoyed this interview, please support us by donating a small amount. The book covers her challenges both in war and in coming home, and her eventual founding of the Women Veterans Project at Vietnam Veterans of America. Before being killed in Vietnam in , he wrote eight books that many claim are some of the best history books about the French War and the beginnings of the Vietnam War.
The work also included a damning warning about what the U. He was with them during the Tet Offensive and this memoir includes memories of that battle and others. It went on to become one of the only Vietnam war books to be a finalist for the National Book Award in the nonfiction category.
Written by a journalist and retired general, this best-seller was released in and was adapted in the movie We Were Soldiers. The focus is on the four days and nights in November during which American soldiers were involved in what ended up being the bloodiest campaign of the entire war. Yes, that , Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games trio, has written one of the most affecting Vietnam war books.
Perhaps more of a memoir than straight fiction—thought not fully on either side—the story is that of Young Suzy, whose father goes away to the Vietnam War. This unique choose-your-own-adventure style story begins in the s. Will you enlist in the Marines and go to war or will you protest it? Each choice is based on real decisions people had to make and the results are just as serious: Jail, the jungle, or death.
It is one of the most highly praised of all Vietnam war books for children. He is scared, exhausted, and misses home. This emotionally charged tale has universal themes that are likely to translate for most kids. Kia, a year-old whose village has been destroyed by the North Vietnamese, is grieving the disappearance of her father while she and the rest of her family are fleeing to a refuge.
Part of the family eventually immigrates to American, but Kia struggles with the new language and culture, and the splitting up of her family. An excellent example of the reality that not all Vietnam war books must be depressing, this uplifting story follows an army canine unit dog that goes by the name of Cracker.
The action is fast-paced and this book is a good option to get kids interested in history.
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Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Tim.
The story of the book is a woman with an intellectually-challenged man and how they relate to each other and the world. The story in this review is of a real-life couple in a similar relationship. Joey was a local guy from a little out-island. He'd been the boyfriend of my friend Mari who was from a wealthy family in Boston and working here as a school librarian whilst building her million-dollar house.
They'd been in the States together and she'd bought him a bike, not a Harley but a The story of the book is a woman with an intellectually-challenged man and how they relate to each other and the world.