In this English debut of Italian writer Terranova, translated by Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series' translator, Ida is a married woman in her late thirties who must return home to Sicily to sort through her childhood things before her mother sells the family home. Surrounded by the objects of her past, Ida is forced to deal with the trauma she experienced as a girl when her father left one morning, never to return.
... a carefully crafted meditation on familial ties and the pernicious effects of unprocessed trauma ... It is to Terranova’s great merit that she is able to capture trauma’s potential to stop time in such a limpid manner ... Terranova’s sense of space, in fact, is masterful. The novel invests much in domestic topography and the urban cityscape. From the symbolic weight conferred on Ida’s house and the repairs that its crumbling roof must undergo, to its keen musings on the intersections between place and identity, Farewell, Ghosts manages to be supremely situated in the Sicily of Greek origins, droughts, and seasonal winds while also speaking to the universal human experience of rootedness and its attending anxieties ... In the end, Farewell, Ghosts is a success. I mean this primarily in two senses. It is, first, a literary success: a tale of homecoming both so familiar and devastatingly new that it is sure to gain Terranova a robust following among English-speaking audiences. In another sense, however, a rarer one, it is a tale of success.
To say this is beautifully translated doesn’t even scratch the surface; Goldstein, who has also translated Elena Ferrante’s novels, finds poetry in Terranova’s every line. Together, these two artists have birthed an aching, translingual masterpiece.