The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Dan Jacobson writes:

After the war he became a prominent figure in Italian literary life: working in Rome as editor of the once-famous quarterly journal Botteghe oscure and subsequently in the even more famous publishing firm of Feltrinelli, he produced a sequence of novels and stories devoted largely, but by no means exclusively, to Jewish life in Ferrara. When his time finally came he was buried there, in the city’s Jewish cemetery, at the age of 84. Whether as fiction or autobiography or (as seems most likely) some inextricable mingling of both, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis will continue to be read as the work of a subtle and obsessed artist, with a particular, almost sotto voce talent for writing about unhappy love, crazed ideology, and the capacity of peoples to inflict disasters on themselves and others.

(LRB 22 May 2008)

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