Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Elena Ferrante & The Good Book Dilemma
(Caption: Un libro di Elena Ferrante + pranzo = pomeriggio perfetto!)
Does this happen to you?
A new order of books arrived, in my case a little cache of Italian novels and memoirs, including one by an author who's totally new to me.
First, I placed the package on my bed for later -- nothing like anticipation to sweeten a treat even further!
Then I opened it, and took out the books slowly and carefully, without reading them. Not ready to break the spines or introduce creases!
Finally I opened them and began to read one of them, "I Giorni Dell'Abandono" by Elena Ferrante, the author I had previously not heard of. She's clearly a master of prose, of story-telling, of conveying complex and unpleasant emotions.
So what's the problem?
It would be hard to overstate how depressing "I Giorni Dell'Abandono" is. It begins with this line:
"Un pomeriggio d'aprile, subito dopo pranzo, mio marito mi annuncio' che voleva lasciarmi."
Trans.: "One April afternoon,right after lunch, my husband announced that he planned to leave me."
And it really goes down from there, in terms of circumscribing the hellish trajectory of a mother of two living through a breakup she didn't see coming and that's now her undoing.
So what to do? My solution is I read it during the day. In the evenings or if I wake up in the middle of the night, I read Dan Brown's "Inferno" or "The Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love."
Is it only me?!