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Family Sayings

Natalia Ginzburg

Translated by D.M. Low

Categories: Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
  • Description
  • Translator
  • The places, events and people are all real. I have invented nothing. Every
    time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old
    habits as a novelist, I have felt impelled at once to destroy everything
    thus invented.


    Remembered family sayings slip in and out of this extraordinary
    autobiographical novel. It spans the period from the rise of fascism
    through the Second World War, in which her husband perished at the hands of
    the Nazis. It names names, the members of the family and political and
    cultural figures who were family friends and foes. Natalia Ginzburg's
    father was a professor of biology and a domestic tyrant, her mother a vague
    figure with artistic interests. Both were anti-fascists and suffered for
    it. Ginzburg insists that Family Sayings, which tells nothing more or less
    than the truth as she remembers it, should be read 'without demanding of it
    either more or less than what a novel can offer.'

    'It seems to give biography a new dimension, new possibilities, and the
    tired old form of the family chronicle an aspect that is entirely new.
    Natalia Ginzburg is a brilliant eccentric, almost certainly Italy's best
    woman writer.' Times Literary Supplement

    'Natalia Ginzburg's wonderful Family Sayings, a fictional anthology of an
    exceptional family of radical, intellectual Turin Jews. Italian political
    life before and during the Second World War is brilliantly filtered through
    the eccentric, intimate recollections of domestic arguments, traditions and
    habits. It is a small, entrancing classic.' Hermione Lee, Observer

    'there is something irresistibly appealing about the struggle from
    weakness toward goodness, especially when she looks at her younger self
    with a kind of comical deprecation as though it were a baby toad in the
    palm of her hand.' New York Review of Books
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