The Austere Delights Of Natalia Ginzburg’s Novels

Negar Azimi at Bookforum:

SHE CALLED HERSELF a minor writer. “I’m no Tolstoy,” said this woman whose parents named her after a character from War and Peace. One wishes Natalia Ginzburg hadn’t apologized for her gifts. Wishes that she had luxuriated in her standing as one of Italy’s finest postwar writers. The fact that her various novels, novellas, and essays are flying back into print—some freshly translated—thirty years after her passing is not unrelated to the extravagant success of the other Italian, the one whose books have become the stuff of prestige television. Ginzburg, alas, has no HBO series attached to her name, but surely her estate profits from the fumes of Ferrante fever. As publishers scramble to chart distinguished genealogies of Italian women writers, we are invited to “discover” Ginzburg’s work in essays like this one. As though it had not been hiding in plain sight for decades.

more here.