Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Review: A GIRL RETURNED by Donatella Di Pietrantonio

Finally, my review of one of the best Italian novels of 2019 has run! You can find my whole review of A GIRL RETURNED here on the Kenyon Review's site, and a short excerpt of the piece here below:

"In the gripping new Italian novel in translation A Girl Returned, a young girl’s adoptive parents suddenly bring her back to her birth mother, thirteen years later, as if she were an expired item. Adoptions are typically permanent, no? Not in this novel by Donatella Di Pietrantonio, who deftly grapples here with the holy trifecta of human emotions (and thus, fiction): love, longing and loss.
"The stunning turn of events propels the girl into a new world. The first person she meets in the other home is Adriana, a sister whose existence she has heretofore known nothing about. The move to the new house forces her to exchange life as an only child for a home where she shares a bedroom with four siblings, including three teenage boys. Her sense of alarm (and the reader’s) is underscored when she tries to escape by pretending she has left something in her adoptive father’s car. Once inside the car, she activates the locks, begging him to take her back. As he forcibly removes her, the narrator comments, “In his grip I no longer recognized the hand of the taciturn father I’d lived with until that morning.” It seems an act of unmitigated cruelty by the father—and in one way, it surely is—but maverick plot twists revealed later in this startlingly suspenseful book will somewhat attenuate that verdict."