#BeatTheBacklist: Valentino and Sagittarius by Natalia Ginzburg

Celebrate Women in Translation and #BeatTheBacklist with us


With that many releases out every week, it’s already hard enough to read all the books we want. However, that doesn’t mean we should neglect (modern) classics or backlists of our favourite authors. In fact, last time we were here to recommend 3 books from Lauren Groff’s backlist. Today we are back to add more books to your TBR by introducing two titles written by Natalia Ginzburg: Valentino and Sagittarius.

Natalia Ginzburg was an Italian author whose works have won multiple awards, with notable works ranging from novellas, novels to essays. What made her such a famed writer is that she had a fascinating life, being an anti-Fascist activist. Her works reflect that deeply, as they do not shy away from discussing family relationships, and politics during those years. Daunt Book Publishing has been releasing her translated works in pretty, simplistic covers and they make a great addition to your shelves. And with August being Women in Translation Month, what better time than now to hype up these books?

Valentino (trans by Avril Bardoni) is a novella about a family that adapts to the son’s sudden marriage to an older, wealthy woman. The story follows Caterina as she navigates this change her brother brings to the family, the same brother that the family always prioritises in order for him to become “a man of consequence”. Sagittarius (trans by Avril Bardoni) is another novella that explores people’s downfall caused by delusion. Following a mother who has unrealistic aspirations towards starting an art gallery, Sagittarius again does a great job in illustrating complex family dynamics through writing about ordinary lives.

Natalia Ginzburg has a concise writing style that stripes away all the flowery descriptions. And this simplistic style makes the story-telling very effective as Ginzburg’s stories tend to be bleak, with the narrators here in these two short stories are practical and detached in the postwar Italy.

Valentino and Sagittarius by Natalia Ginzburg are out now. (Daunt Book Publishing)
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