- 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: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,625,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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"A voice that is new, original, and decidedly special."-"Rolling Stone"(Italy)
"It's been a long time-maybe since the times of Pasolini himself-since we last had the impression, as we do here, that literature was somehow connected to politics and society, or even that it could have some impact on them both."-"Vanity Fair" (Italy)
"Parrella is the best of our authors. Her books are a (rare) example of intellectual maturity and honesty."- "Il Giornale"
"Parrella's women seem to have emerged from the novels of Balzac, Tolstoy, or Dostoyevsky: this book is a further confirmation of a talent capable of drawing from literature as well as from life."-"La Repubblica"
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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. Parrella's stories feel like one-act plays--vibrant, full of emotion, and memorable. One can only hope that the author's two novels, The White Space (2008) and The Verdict (2007) will also be translated into English so that this author can find a bigger spotlight on the world-wide stage she richly deserves. Mary Whipple