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Old 04-01-2013, 04:45 PM   #4
paola
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Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
It's up to you and the rest of the nominators, since surely "obscure" has vague limits.

Personally, I would think it would count as obscure for this month if one thinks that most of the people here in this club would view it as obscure, and what you are referring to sounds like it would be obscure to me.
yep, that's clear and reasonable enough

Ok, then brace yourself for some Italian authors - I am shunning Cassola, Pavese, Sciascia, whom I love dearly but I presume they are either well known, or (as for Cassola) it is hard to find good tralsations, let alone ebooks!

So I will kick off with Dacia Maraini's The Silent Duchess (original title La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrža in case translations use different titles). Here is goodreads' blurb:

Quote:
Finalist for the International Man Booker Prize, winner of the Premio Campiello (Italy’s equivalent of the National Book Award), short-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Award upon its first English-language publication in the U.K., and published to critical acclaim in fourteen languages, this mesmerizing historical novel by one of Italy’s premier women writers is available in the United States for the first time.

The Silent Duchess is the story of Marianna Ucrža, the victim of a mysterious childhood trauma that has left her deaf and mute, trapped in a world of silence. Marianna searches for knowledge and fulfillment in a society where women have few choices. In luminous language that conveys both the keen visual sight and the deep human insight possessed by her remarkable main character, Dacia Maraini captures the splendor and the corruption of Marianna’s world and the strength of her spirit. The Silent Duchess is the timeless story of one woman’s struggle to find her own voice after years of silence.
Dacia Maraini belongs to the same generation as the better known Alberto Moravia, who left his wife for her. So this prompts me to my second nomination, Elsa Morante's History: A novel (La Storia). Unlike The silent duchess, this is a bit more of a tome (just shy of 800 pages in paper version). Again, blurb from Goodreads:

Quote:
History was written nearly thirty years after Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia spent a year in hiding among remote farming villages in the mountains south of Rome. There she witnessed the full impact of the war and first formed the ambition to write an account of what history - the great political events driven by men of power, wealth, and ambition - does when it reaches the realm of ordinary people struggling for life and bread.

The central character in this powerful and unforgiving novel is Ida Mancuso, a schoolteacher whose husband has died and whose feckless teenage son treats the war as his playground. A German soldier on his way to North Africa rapes her, falls in love with her, and leaves her pregnant with a boy whose survival becomes Ida's passion.

Around these two other characters come and go, each caught up by the war which is like a river in flood. We catch glimpses of bombing raids, street crimes, a cattle car from which human cries emerge, an Italian soldier succumbing to frostbite on the Russian front, the dumb endurance of peasants who have lived their whole lives with nothing and now must get by with less than nothing.
Please do let me know if I've been arrogant in assuming these authors are obscure if they are not to you.

EDIT: both books are available in ebook format

Last edited by paola; 04-01-2013 at 05:35 PM. Reason: two nominations added
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