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?!

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