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LUCCA by Jens Christian Grøndahl


by Jens Christian Grøndahl & translated by Anne Born

Pub Date: July 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-15-100594-X
Publisher: Harcourt

The Danish author (Silence in October, 2001) returns with a moody, intermittently quite affecting 1998 novel.

Grøndahl exhaustively traces a beautiful actress’s growing attraction to the doctor who treats her when she’s hospitalized following a near-fatal car crash. In separate narratives replete with lengthy flashbacks, Grøndahl portrays the doctor (Robert)’s history of marital and romantic failures and tense relationship with his young daughter, then the eponymous Lucca’s painful estrangement from her Italian father, conflicted female friendships and evanescent love affairs (including one with her paternal favorite director), and doomed marriage to an Arthur Miller–like playwright. The author makes something new of this overfamiliar material because his characters really are interesting people, and contrives an ironic finale that’s both emotionally gripping and quite credibly open-ended.