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.
About the Author
NATALIA GINZBURG (1916–91) is recognized as one of the foremost Italian writers of the twentieth century, and one of the most eloquent and incisive commentators on postwar Italy. Her works include novels, stories, essays, plays, and a biography of Alessandro Manzoni.
LYNNE SHARON SCHWARTZ is the author of fourteen works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as the widely acclaimed memoir, Ruined by Reading. Her first novel, Rough Strife (1981), was shortlisted for a National Book Award and a PEN/Hemingway First Novel Award, and her Leaving Brooklyn (1989) was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award in Fiction. She won the 1991 PEN Renato Pogglioli Award for her translation from the Italian of Smoke Over Birkenau, by Liana Millu. Schwartz is a native and current New Yorker.