Sunday, February 21, 2021

2021 - #27 - A Girl Returned, Donatella DiPietrantonio

 

TITLE/AUTHOR:  The Girl Returned, Donatella DiPietrantonio

PUBLISHER: Europa Editions

YEAR PUBLISHED:  2019

GENRE: Fiction 

FORMAT:  print PP/LENGTH: 170 pp.

SOURCE: Library

SETTING(s):  Italy


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A coming of age story about a girl caught between two families.


BRIEF REVIEW:  On what started out as an ordinary day in August of 1975, our unnamed narrator, just thirteen years old, is driven by the man she called "uncle," the man who lived with her mother, to now live with her "other mother" who she did not know.  All she is told was that her mother was sick and that this new family was her real family.

Now in the mountain town of Abruzzo, instead of being the only child, living in a nice home by the sea, she has been thrust into a chaotic household with 4 other children and too little of everything.  In this home the siblings must even fight for food.  Despite the trauma of being removed from the only family she had known,  our narrator develops a special relationship with the younger sister Adriana, 3 years her junior. The sisters become each others protector.  Over the course of a year although she receives money and gifts from her other mother, it isn't until almost the end of the novel that the mystery surrounding why she was taken from one family and given to another is revealed.

This is a brief novella, just 170 pages, and such a compelling coming-of-age story. My heart went out to the unnamed narrator, referred to only as the "Arminuta " (the returned), she was such a bright girl, a good student and a good daughter who struggled to understand why she was taken from her home so suddenly and forced to live with another family. The story was translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein who has translated all the Elena Ferrante works.  A wonderful story, I loved how it ended as well.  Highly Recommended.

RATING: 5/5 stars

MEMORABLE QUOTES:  "One had given me up with her milk still on my tongue, the other had given me back at the age of thirteen. I was a child of separations, false or unspoken kinships, distances. I no longer knew who I came from. In my heart I don't even know now."

20 comments:

  1. I’m looking for translated fiction work, I’ll add it to my list, thanks

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    1. This would be a good one to try. I also read My Grandmother's Brsid in January which was also good.

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    1. Judy, it was such a lucky pick. i was looking for Europa translations with fewer than 300 pages and came across this pleasant surprise.

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  3. It does sound good, and I like that it is a translation--can't imagine at thirteen what a transition like this might be like.

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  4. My library actually has a copy of this one! It's a sign I'm meant to read it. ;D

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  5. This is so intriguing! Now I want to know why she went from one family to the next.

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  6. You've tempted me, Diane. Adding to my GR list. Have a good week!

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  7. Wow, this sounds like a very powerful, heart-breaking sort of a read.

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  8. This sounds so good! I just discovered that the ebook is available on hoopla... adding it to my March list.

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  9. This one sounds like a real winner. Lucky you to have found it.

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  10. This does sound good. Seems like the author packed a lot of emotion into the 170 pages she had to work with.

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  11. 5/5 tells me all I really need to know about this novella!

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  12. Oh this book sounds like it will be a tear jerker. But I like that it ended nicely, so hopefully, HEA all around.

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  13. A 5-star read! Adding this onto my wishlist. :)

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  14. I just requested this from the library. I love all things Italy and the story sounds good, if not a little heartbreaking.

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