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A work of understated elegance and cumulative power, this vel eases readers into a drama unfolding within a Catholic family in Italy on the eve of World War II. As scenes only dimly understood by the child Lorenza are revisited by the woman she becomes, what seemed a family affair-a romance involving Lorenza's mother, her father's Jewish friend Arturo, and her aunt Margot in Switzerland-begins to reveal the broader outlines of the drama of history, in particular the tragedy of Italy's Jews during the Holocaust. Limning the interplay of past and present, of memory and presence, this haunting work by one of Italy's foremost writers brings to life the subtleties and complexities of history as it is experienced, interpreted, and relived within the most intimate of realms.
Rosetta Loy, author of seven novels, is one of Italy's leading contemporary writers. Her work has garnered numerous major literary prizes in Italy as well as the 1996 European Prize for literature. Gregory Conti has translated five books from Italian, including Rosetta Loy's childhood memoir, First Words.