The acclaimed author of Rules of the Wild gives us a lively, poignant, brilliantly observed new collection of stories: explorations of the power of change—in relationships, geographies, and across cultures—to reveal unexpected aspects of ourselves.
Here is the most evocative and immediate work yet from a writer hailed by The New York Times as “a natural-born storyteller”—and adored by readers for her global sensibility, humor, and narrative flair. Taking us to Venice during film festival season, a sun-drenched Greek village at the height of summer holidays, and a classical dance community in southern India, these stories sparkle with insight, pitch-perfect dialogue, and surprising twists. A woman celebrates professional success by impulsively buying a Chanel dress she can barely afford. A teenage girl contends with her mother’s death while trying to impress a first love. A couple gives in to the urge to wander as they approach midlife. In all of these remarkable stories, characters take risks, confront fears, and step outside their boundaries into new passions and destinies. Enlivened by Marciano’s vivid and clear eye on love and betrayal, politics and travel, and the awakenings of childhood, The Other Language is a tour de force that illuminates both the joys and ironies of self-reinvention.
“The Other Language is a voyage around the world, among travelers and tourists, expats and interlopers, from the fringes of the Venice Film Festival, to a sumptuous vacation spot in India, to a remote island in East Africa, and beyond. This outstanding book has a quality I find only in the best short-story collections: that, after each chapter, I cannot immediately flip to the next, but need time to absorb what has just unfolded so memorably before me. Francesca Marciano is a superb storyteller.” —Tom Rachman, author of The Imperfectionists
“You hold in your hands 304 pages of dynamite. These stories are worldly, political, and funny to boot. I’ve loved Marciano’s writing since her first novel, Rules of the Wild—but I am completely hot for The Other Language.” —Gary Shteyngart
“This is an astonishing collection. Marciano’s characters are caught between the coming and going, unable to call any one place home. They struggle with self-definition. They seek re-invention. Impulsive characters, portrayed in moments of juncture, in moments of crisis, in a series of indelible scenes. Written with extraordinary clarity and elegance, The Other Language is a vision of geography as it grounds us, as it shatters us, as it transforms the soul.” —Jhumpa Lahiri