An article on the Sassi di Matera (the stone homes/cave dwellings in Puglia, Italy) in this weekend's Globe and Mail Travel section reminded me that I'd just learned about these remarkable buildings and the culture and people they sheltered for forty thousand years. I came across them in the book I'd promised to tell you more about, Paul Paolicelli's Dances with Luigi. Since I wrote that promise here, I've finished reading a few other titles I need to say a few words about here, so yes, I'm falling behind again.
Luckily, though, I have a couple of guest bloggers ready to jump in for me. If you are one of the small but select group of readers here, I hope you take time to read the comments, which are often the richest part of a post. We have a salon of discerning readers here, and there are a few consistent voices you may have begun to recognise. Last fall, as it became increasingly obvious I might never find the time to write as much about Elana Ferrante's marvelous Neapolitan series as it deserves, I reached out to two of these commenters, Dottoressa and Georgia, to ask if they'd care to write a response to Ferrante.
Both of them kindly agreed, and while I'd initially thought to put their contributions together in a single post, it seems more appropriate to give a separate space to Georgia's post, as she's offered us an engaging introduction to Ferrante's earlier work. For any of you who are hesitating about making the commitment to a four-volume series, or for those of you (like myself) who, having read the Neapolitan series, now wish to read Ferrante's backlist, here is Georgia's compelling introduction for those titles -- she thoughtfully provided the photograph above as well.
Thank you so much, Georgia! What a great introduction to your own interest in Italian language, culture, and literature as well as to Ferrante and her work, and what a bravely chosen passage to convincingly illustrate what Ferrante can do to us, in her unflinching determination to write women's lives, beyond the mythically domestic mothers and wives we are too often purported (constructed) to be...
I have Dottoressa's response to the 4-volume Neapolitan series and I'll do my best to post this soon, along with a few words of my own (at the very least, some links back to what I said about these books earlier). And who knows? Perhaps I'll even catch up on keeping a promise or two and recording a few titles. Already February and falling behind?! Tsk, tsk, tsk. . .
Readers, as always, your comments are very welcome, and I think Georgia will probably be available and willing to answer any questions you might have, but I'll be here as well, facilitating the conversation if needed.