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The Things We Used To Say

Natalia Ginzburg

Translated by Judith Woolf

Cover Picture of The Things We Used To Say
Categories: 20th Century, Italian, Jewish, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • '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

    '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...'
    Times Literary Supplement
    'I have written only what I remember.'

    Natalia Ginzburg insists that this book, in which she has invented nothing, should be read 'without asking more or less of it than a novel can give.' In it, she turns a novelist's devastatingly observant eye on her parents, her siblings and her own childhood and youth to produce a ruthless, comic and intimate portrait of a family living through dangerous times. Ginzburg's family were actively anti-fascist and her father was Jewish; the novel spans the period from the rise of fascism through the German occupation of Italy, during which Ginzburg's husband died at the hands of the Nazis. Combining the quirkiness of family sayings with the stoicism of personal suffering, this is an engaging and authentic record of survival and loss.
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