ICES IN THE EVENING by Natalia Ginzburg


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In an engagingly limpid prose, Natalia Ginzburg creates a well peopled world. The setting is a small Italian town; the narrator Elsa, a young woman in her late twenties whose mother will not rest for seeing her married. Elsa introduces the community with the case of life-long familiarity. There are the ""little Bottiglia girls"", so-called although the youngest is now 29. There are the children of Old Balotta, owner of the cloth factory: Gemmina, who kept La Casetta after her parents' death and who bore a great love for the vague Nebbia, killed by the Fascists: the remote intellectual Vincenzino, who married the robust Cate and then did not know how to hold her; Mario, who brought home the exotic Xenia, the only member of the wealthy family who knew how to spend money; Raffaella, girl partisan during the war, later wed unhappily to Purillo, a distant relative and ward of La Balotta who cared for them during the war and now ran the factory--Raffaella who drowned her unhappiness in love for her son Pepe; and finally Tommasino, who met Elsa on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Via Gorizia. The story of her affair, which extended to an engagement broken when Tommasino made a soul shattering disclosure to Elsa, forms the main encounter here. The whole is a minor enchantment...even if the voices, heard so clearly, quickly die away with the evening breeze.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1963
Publisher: Dutton