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Arguably one of Italy’s greatest contemporary writers, Natalia Ginzburg has been best known in America as a writer’s writer, quiet beloved of her fellow wordsmiths. This collection of personal essays chosen by the eminent American writer Lynne Sharon Schwartz from four of Ginzburg’s books written over the course of Ginzburg’s lifetime was a many-years long project for Schwartz. These essays are deeply felt, but also disarmingly accessible. Full of self-doubt and searing insight, Ginzburg is merciless in her attempts to describe herself and her world–and yet paradoxically, her self-deprecating remarks reveal her deeper confidence in her own eye and writing ability, as well as the weight and nuance of her exploration of the conflict between humane values and bureaucratic rigidity.
“To read these pieces is to have the privilege to come to know Natalia Ginzburg in some intimate sense; it is to see the inner workings of her mind and soul; it is to see how an why the two have never worked separately; it is to gain a sensitive and penetrating approach to her longer works.” — Umberto Mariani, Rutgers University