This bundle includes three novels by Natalia Ginzburg published by Daunt Books.
Family Lexicon is the masterful autobiographical novel Ginzburg wrote while living in London in the 1960s. Homesick for her Italian family, she summoned them in this celebration of the routines and rituals, in-jokes and insults and, above all, the repeated sayings that make up every family. Giuseppe Levi is a Jewish scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking. Impatient and intractable, he is constantly at odds with his impressionable and wistful wife Lidia – yet he cannot be without her. Together they preside over their five children in a house filled with argument and activity, books and politics, visitors, friends and famous faces. But as their children grow up against the backdrop of Mussolini’s Italy, the Levi household must become more than just a home, but a stronghold against fascism. Intimate, enchanting and comedic, Family Lexicon is an unforgettable novel about language, memory, and the lasting power that family holds over all of us.
Happiness, as Such is a novel about a large, dysfunctional family in 1970s Italy. Headstrong and independent, Michele a beloved only son has disappeared to London without explanation. Back in Italy, his father lies dying. Michele’s departure sets forth a series of events that will bring together everyone in his life – his mother Adriana, living in the countryside with her two twin daughters Bebetta and Nannetta, his long-suffering sister Angelica, his loyal and sad friend Osvaldo, and Mara, a young woman who is prone to showing up on doorsteps with a baby that may or may not be Michele’s. The story of the Prodigal Son turned on its head, Happiness, As Such is a short, absurdly funny novel-in-letters about complicated families and missed connections.
Voices in the Evening is set in a hushed Italian town after the Second World War where Elsa lives with her parents in the house where she was born. Twenty-seven and unmarried, she is of constant concern to her mother, whose status anxiety manifests itself in acute hypochondria. But her mother does not know that Elsa has fallen in love with Tommasino, the elusive youngest son of the De Francisci family, who own the cloth factory that dominates the town. In the course of their secret meetings, Elsa begins to imagine a future with Tommasino, free from the constraints of shared history and expectation. But all of this is threatened when their relationship is revealed. An elegant, spare novel reminiscent of Chekhov, Voices in the Evening is an unforgettable story about first love and lost chances, from one of the greatest Italian writers of the twentieth century.