Behind the Door

Behind the Door

Giorgio Bassani

Literature & Fiction

A new translation of Bassani's moving novel of childhood friendship and the unexpected loss of innocenceThe years lived since then have not, in the end, been of any use: I haven't managed to remedy the suffering which has remained there like a hidden wound, secretly bleeding. In the fourth book of the Romanzo di Ferrara cycle, Bassani paints a moving portrait of a 1930s childhood in which even the familiar classroom and playground dramas begin to reflect the sinister forces at work in fascist Italy. This powerful tale of friendship and rivalry in the face of the ever encroaching spectre of adulthood adds yet another intricate thread to Bassani's rich tapestry of his native city, Ferrara.'Giorgio Bassani is one of the great witnesses of this century, and one of its great artists' Guardian'Powerful new translations . . . Bassani began as a poet, and McKendrick's redelivery of this taut uncompromising fiction reveals resonance and...
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The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Giorgio Bassani

Literature & Fiction

This is a haunting, elegiac novel which captures the mood and atmosphere of Italy (and in particular Ferrara) in the last summers of the thirties, focusing on an aristocratic Jewish family moving imperceptibly towards its doom. Vittorio De Sica turned the book into a film in 1970, winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1974.
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The Heron

The Heron

Giorgio Bassani

Literature & Fiction

'Exquisite. . . a classic tour de force' The New York Times 'It struggled to keep itself aloft, to gain height. But then it suddenly gave up, and dropped as though it were breaking into many pieces'Early on a cold Sunday morning, forty-five-year-old Edgardo Limentani gets up to join a shooting party in the countryside surrounding the town of Ferrara. As the day passes, he contemplates his past, his disappointments and how he has got here. Like the birds he shoots, he realizes, he is trapped, broken, waiting alone for the final coup de grâce. Then he sees a way out.The fifth book in Bassani's Novel of Ferrara sequence, and his final novel, The Heron is a taut, poignant portrait of a middle-aged man's reckoning with his life.
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The Novel of Ferrara

The Novel of Ferrara

Giorgio Bassani

Literature & Fiction

Giorgio Bassani’s six classic books, collected for the first time in English as the epic masterwork they were intended to be. Among the masters of twentieth-century literature, Giorgio Bassani and his Northern Italian hometown of Ferrara “are as inseparable as James Joyce and Dublin or Italo Svevo and Trieste” (from the Introduction). Now published in English for the first time as the unified masterwork Bassani intended, The Novel of Ferrara brings together Bassani’s six classics, fully revised by the author at the end of his life: Within the Walls, The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Behind the Door, The Heron, and The Smell of Hay. Set in the northern Italian town of Ferrara before, during, and after the Second World War, these interlocking stories present a fully rounded world of unforgettable characters: the respected doctor whose homosexuality is tolerated until he is humiliatingly exposed by an exploitative youth; a survivor of the Nazi death camps whose neighbors’ celebration of his return gradually turns to ostracism; a young man discovering the ugly, treacherous price that people will pay for a sense of belonging; the Jewish aristocrat whose social position has been erased; the indomitable schoolteacher, Celia Trotti, whose Communist idealism disturbs and challenges a postwar generation. The Novel of Ferrara memorializes not only the Ferrarese people, but the city itself, which assumes a character and a voice deeply inflected by the Jewish community to which the narrator belongs. Suffused with new life by acclaimed translator and poet Jamie McKendrick, this seminal work seals Bassani’s reputation as “a quietly insistent chronicler of our age’s various menaces to liberty” (Jonathan Keates).
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The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles

The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles

Giorgio Bassani

Literature & Fiction

Into the insular town of 1930s Ferrara, a new doctor arrives. Fadigati is hopeful and modern, and more than anything wants to fit into his new home. But his fresh, appealing appearance soon crumbles when the townsfolk discover his homosexuality, and the young man he pays to be his lover humiliates him publicly. As anti-Semitism spreads across Italy, the Jewish narrator of the tale begins to feel pity for the ostracized doctor, as the fickle nature of a community changing under political forces becomes clear. The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles is a gripping and tragic study of how lives can be destroyed by those we consider our neighbours.
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