'Ginzburg gives us a new template for the female voice and an idea of what it might sound like.' Rachel Cusk
In a hushed, Italian town after the Second World War Elsa lives with her parents in the house where she was born. Twenty-seven and unmarried, she is of constant concern to her mother, whose status anxiety manifests itself in acute hypochondria. Elsa hopes to live a life different to the one she's always known and when she meets Tommasino, it seems possible. Tommasino belongs to the De Francisci family, who owns the cloth factory where Elsa's father works, and whose lives and stories Elsa has known all her life. In the course of their secret meetings, Elsa and Tommasino begin to imagine another future for themselves, free from the constraints of shared history and expectation. But all of this is threatened when their relationship is revealed.
An elegant, spare novel reminiscent of Chekhov, Voices in the Evening captures Italy after the war, and a new generation struggling against its legacy. Ginzburg's doomed love story comes to us as though whispered between friends, and carried on an evening breeze.
Natalia Ginzburg (1916-1991) was born in Sicily and became one of the most important Italian writers of the twentieth century. She published her first short stories at the age of eighteen, and went on to write dozens of novels, plays and essays, including The Little Virtues, Voices in the Evening, All our Yesterdays, and Family Lexicon, which won the prestigious Strega Prize in 1963. She was the first person to translate Proust into Italian. As well as being a prolific writer, she was involved in politics and activism throughout her life, and served in the Italian parliament from 1983-1987.
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