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Caroline

I have only read "Caro Michele" which is said to be her masterpiece and remember how much I liked it but not much of the book with the exception of it being an epistolary novel too.
I have not heard of this book and did so far not return to Ginzburg but I know I should.

litlove

I hesitate before epistolary novels as I find that form isn't my favourite (I'm not a huge fan of novels written as diary entries, either). But the name Ginzburg sounds very familiar. Did she write essays too? That may be where I know her from.

Danielle

Caroline--I don't think I am familiar with that title by her, but then I think she has written a number of books and I have only seen a very few online--I have one other to read at home. Interesting that her other book is also an epistolary novel, too. This was a totally new reading experience--I do plan on reading more of her work as she sounds like she is an important Italian author.

Litlove--I do like epistolary novels, but sometimes the set up can be very clunky--lots of explanations that sound a little forced and unnatural. Sometimes it can work very well though. She did write essays, so you may well have heard of her that way. I'd be curious to try her essays as well.

Kathy Johnson

I like the occasional epistolary novel, just like I like reading journals and collections of letters. In my mind, they're similar. Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? I loved that one.

Stefanie

I've read some of Ginzburg's essays but none of her longer work. This sounds like it was pretty good. I will keep it in mind should I ever decide I need to read more of her.

Buried In Print

I'm so glad that we "happened" upon the idea of reading this together; chatting about it has definitely been my favourite part of the book! And I love your idea of the story beginning at the end.

Traditionally a journey would seem the ultimate beginning, like Giuseppe's "should" perhaps have been. But, in fact, there are so many sadnesses pulling at him (and at the people around him), that it really isn't much of a fresh start for him.

At the end of the book there are, of course, new raw sadnesses, but they seem to be of the cleansing sort somehow (not to minimize their tragic elements).

Or does it just seem that way because the novel ended right then, so we don't see the next phase of "sinking into messy-ness"?

In any case, I, too, am really glad to have read it. The story made me reconsider the value of certain kinds of relationships and community, and question assumptions that we make about "what makes us happy".

But I also agree that it probably wasn't the best place to start with her work. I'm really curious about the book Caroline mentioned and wonder if the author's fascination with the epistolary form was more long-standing than we'd realized. My library does have a copy...

Danielle

Kathy--They really are a lot alike--and I like both types of novels, too. I have read the Guernsey book--It was a very enjoyable story and one I wouldn't mind revisiting sometime when I am in need of some comfort reading.

Stefanie--This is a pretty quick read and one best to tackle in just a few sittings. I wouldn't mind reading some of her essays at some point, too!

Buried in Print--This was sort of a heavy duty book, wasn't it--so much happening and so many life changes for almost all the characters, but then I guess it is representing real life. I was wondering how on earth she would end such a story, and despite the sad ending, it worked. There was a sense of closure to the story, even though they almost all were going through yet another upheaval! I had no idea that she had written more than on epistolary novel. I will have to try and research her a bit and see if I can find some criticism--she does seem important enough to have had people write about her. My library, alas, has none of her books! I might have to see what I can get through ILL (though I have about five requests in at the moment, so will have to work my way through those first!). Thanks so much for letting me read along--sorry it was in somewhat of a haphazard manner! Let me know if you'd ever like to do so again, too! That was the best part of it all--chatting about it! :)

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