by Natalia Ginzburg
Books > Fiction
With an introduction by Alexander Chee.
‘So there is no one to whom I can speak the words that most need to be spoken, about the events which most closely concern our family and what has happened to us; I have to keep them bottled up inside me and there are times when they threaten to choke me.’
Valentino is the spoiled child of doting parents who have no doubt he will be ‘a man of consequence’. His sisters, however, see him for what he truly is: lazy, apathetic, self-absorbed and far more interested in dancing and dating students than applying himself to his studies at medical school.
His parents’ dreams begin to unravel when, out of the blue, Valentino becomes engaged to the wealthy yet strikingly ugly Maddalena. The family is scandalised by his choice of bride – and suspicious of her motives.
In Valentino, class, social expectations, wealth and marriage come under Natalia Ginzburg’s forensic scrutiny, her unflinching moral realism and her keen psychological insight resulting in a work of quiet devastation.