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All Our Yesterdays

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This is a welcome republication from Faber Editions, a series better known for modernist titles and underrepresented voices. Ir nors autorės stilius patiko, visgi suvokiau, kad tema ne mano ir todėl negaliu dėt šios knygos prie favoričių lentynos – nieko labai blogo joje neradau, džiaugiausi vertimu ir gražia proza, bet kažko daugiau pasiimti irgi nepavyko. Jews from some Italian Northern cities are sent to the South, shunting them off to villages where they cannot ‘harm the war’.

Ginzburg, especially, is turning out to be another favourite author and I’ve read and throughly enjoyed her books – Family Lexicon and The Dry Heart – in the past. lyg ir nėra pagrindinių veikėjų - visi svarbūs, visų gyevnimai aptariami, visų gaila, ar bent jau visiems kažką jauti. In her 1952 novel All Our Yesterdays, the latest welcome reissue of her work by Daunt Books, there are many, many characters, but each is drawn with beautiful particularity. With air raids, constant movement of soldiers and distant bombs going off, the two families prepare their basement for survival mode.But it is also a novel about family and relationships – individuals grappling with their insecurities on a personal level, struggling to adapt to larger events beyond their control, and the inability of members of the same family to communicate and connect during moments of immense upheavals particularly in their private lives.

They were talking politics in the sitting room, they were once again doing a dangerous, secret thing, as the book of memoirs had been.

But now she has a child, and has been taken to wait out the war in Cenzo Rena’s home in a remote village.

Fathers die, the children go to school or start working in the factory (as laborers or as directors), they have friendships and successful or unsuccessful relationships: it is all told without emotion. E quando esse destino chega, o sentimento opressivo que nos acompanha enovela-se dentro de nós sem dar tréguas. There's tremendous wisdom in the tone of this novel; a beautiful and rewarding philosophy of life underpins and guides its narrative voice. As Anna’s husband tells her: “No one found himself with courage ready-made, you had to acquire courage little by little, it was a long story and it went on almost all your life. She was a plump girl, pale and indolent, dressed in a pleated skirt and a faded blue pullover, and not very tall for her fourteen years.

Anna is by this time married, a young mother, helping to conceal fugitives from the fascist regime in the cellar of her home. Through their contrasting responses to the encroaching war, Ginzburg is showing us how the political seeps into the personal, highlighting the devastating impact on young, impressionable minds. And they laughed a little and were very friendly together; and they were pleased to be together, the three of them, thinking of all those who were dead, and of the long war and the sorrow and noise and confusion, and of the long, difficult life which they saw in front of them now, full of all the things they did not know how to do. As you say, the messiness is a clue – funnily enough, it’s a common characteristic in pretty much everything I’ve read by Ginzburg, which suggests that much of her writing was inspired by lived experience. Set in a smaller town in Italy before and during the Second World War, Natalia Ginzburg’s All Our Yesterdays is simply wonderful; a big-hearted, bustling novel of family, friendships, politics, and war pitted against a backdrop of immense turbulence, and narrated in a style that captures Ginzburg’s customary dry wit.

This powerful novel, set against the background of Italy from 1939 to 1944, from the anxious months before the country entered the war, through the war years, to the Allied victory with it trailing wake of anxiety, disappointment, and grief. Then there’s Ippolito’s sister Concettina, a young woman who has many men vying for her attention, of which one is Danilo – a man who stands by the gate of the house in a manner that disconcerts Signora Maria, their housekeeper. The youngest member of the family, Anna, takes centre stage as war breaks out, having become pregnant out of wedlock at only sixteen, and subsequently marrying a much older family friend, Cenzo Rena. Natalia Ginzburg presents a chronicle of two families living opposite each other, in a northern Italian town, one slightly impoverished, the other rich. I think it will tick a lot of boxes for you – strong female characters, a focus on family and evolving relationships, the WW2 setting, and an evocative sense of place.

Jaučiausi šiek tiek apgauta knygos anotacijos – skaitydama ją tikėjausi, kad kūrinys suksis apie Aną ir jos gyvenimą, nėštumą ir to nešamus klausimus, problemas ir nepatogumus karo akivaizdoje, bet gavau kai ką kito. Reading this book seventy years after it was written, however, I feel that ‘ nostri’ also includes me – includes my family’s experience of the war. Ji čia kalba apie Antrojo pasaulinio karo įžangą ir įvykių verpete besisukančius paprastus gyvenimus.

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