A Place to Live and Other Selected Essays of Natalia Ginzburg
Edited and translated by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Arguably one of Italy's greatest contemporary writers, Natalia Ginzburg has been best known in America as a writer's writer, quiet beloved of her fellow wordsmiths. This collection of personal essays chosen by the eminent American writer Lynne Sharon Schwartz from four of Ginzburg's books written over the course of Ginzburg's lifetime, was a many-years long project for Schwartz. These essays are deeply felt, but also disarmingly accessible. Selected from Le piccole virt, Mai devi domandarmi, and Vita immaginaria, here are autobiographical essays about the life of a writer, motherhood, the hardship of the years immediately following World War II in Italy, and also on searching for an apartment, and starting a new job. Full of self-doubt and searing insight, Ginzburg is merciless in her attempts to describe herself. Paradoxically, her self-deprecating remarks reveal her deeper confidence in her own eye and writing ability.
A Place to Live also includes long excerpts from Serena Cruz o la vera giustizia, the culminating nonfiction work of Ginzburgs career, concerning an infant girl named Serena who was separated from her adoptive parents by the Italian government. The conflict Ginzburg outlines with such force and clarity—humane values vs. bureaucratic rigidity—recently set off a new wave of debate in Italy when the Turin court forbade contact between Serena and her brother.
"Clear, honest, quietly strong … Ginzburg compels us to examine the smallest and largest aspects of our lives in a way that is inspiring and exhilarating … Carefully chosen and beautifully translated by the American writer Lynne Sharon Schwartz." —Sian Williams, Times Literary Supplement
"Clarity, precision and wit mark the work of Natalia Ginzburg." —The New York Times Book Review
"Ginzburg draws her readers into her deceptively charming essays with cascades of alluring, everyday detail, then stealthily broaches moral questions of great weight and complexity. Wryly witty, acutely observant, and unfailingly valiant, Ginzburg is a revelation, a spur, and a joy." —Booklist
"A glowing light of modern Italian literature … Ginzburg's magic is the utter simplicity of her prose, suddenly illuminated by one word that makes a lightning stroke of a plain phrase … As direct and clean as if it were carved in stone, it yet speaks thoughts of the heart." —The New York Times
About Natalia Ginzburg
NATALIA GINZBURG (1916–1991) is recognized as one of the foremost Italian writers of the twentieth century, and one of the most eloquent and incisive commentators on postwar Italy. Her works include novels, stories, essays, plays, and a biography of Alessandro Manzoni.