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For Grace Received Paperback – August 25, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1933372945 ISBN-10: 193337294X Edition: English Language

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; English Language edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193337294X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933372945
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,143,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The plucky women in Parrella's second collection of short stories populate a Naples tipping toward depravity. Recalling early Margaret Atwood, the Italian writer employs wry observations from a feminist perspective that isn't afraid of confronting darkness. In the opener, Run, narrator Anna uses a terse, sarcastic voice (I went to the hospital to kill time) to mask her desperation after she's left by her dead partner with a child and a job in the Naples drug trade. The second story (the only one not featuring a Neapolitan woman) follows a young man who gives up classical guitar and winds up working in a criminal print shop. In Imaginary Friend, a married art museum publicist starts a long-distance dalliance while dealing with her daughter's pesky invisible friend; the closing story finds the disarray of a young woman's apartment renovation rivals her love life for title of biggest fiasco. Weaving fully realized fringe characters into the complex pattern of society at large is no easy feat, though Parrella's American debut certainly makes it appear so. (Sept.)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Valeria Parrella has only recently turned thirty-five, yet she is already one of Italy's most honored and exciting contemporary writers, writing in a mature and sophisticated style which is as lively and full of passion as is her native community of Naples itself. For Grace Received, a compelling collection of four stories, smoothly translated by Anthony Shugaar, recreates contemporary everyday life among different groups of people within what might arguably be considered Italy's most raucous city.

A kind of sly dishonesty pervades these stories, though the pragmatic characters do not recognize the dishonesty as especially wrong. Life is a challenge to them, and they all live according to "what works." Some characters are involved with drugs, and some commit crimes on the job, though they are basically good people. Marina, a gallery publicist, is dishonest with her husband and daughter, eventually committing the ultimate selfish act. Other characters tolerate dishonesty around them knowing that they have nothing to gain by complaining.

Parrella's witty style suits these stories perfectly. Writing in a staccato style, often without transitions between speakers and events, she creates scenes in which the reader becomes a voyeur--listening in on conversations among people s/he does not know, sharing the intimacies of everyday life with strangers, and observing and judging life-changing interactions among characters. The overall effect is so realistic that there is no sense that these are just "characters" and not real people.

The author also captures and conveys the private language and gestures of characters who know each other well, thereby enhancing the reader's understanding and appreciation of them and providing insights which go beyond the superficial.
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For Grace Received
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Price: $15.00
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