A collection of short fiction from Italy spanning the 20th and 21st centuries—nearly half appearing in English for the first time—selected and introduced by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Interpreter of Maladies.
...an enticing collection of forty tales ... Readers are offered a kaleidoscopic view of different female identities and male perceptions of them—some objectionable, others deeply touching ... A few stories focus on childhood, with captivating effect ... Each story is preceded by a short introduction by Lahiri ... Informative and peppered with anecdotes, the sketches outline the authors’ lives, education, travels, name changes and career paths, offering a concise introduction to the themes and style of their work, and the story at hand ... These are excellent renderings ... The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories, which has also been published in Italian, successfully offers a 'portrait of Italy that reflects its reality,' and that reality is multi- faceted. The tales are by turns startling, moving, intriguing and provocative; they bring melancholy, humor and a dose of the uncanny.
Jhumpa Lahiiri deserves a medal for her services to Italian literature ... What criteria guided the selection? Lahiri explains that she chose her favourite stories and those recommended by Italian friends, which resulted in a 'portrait of Italy.' It does, but a lot is left out ... But there is a rich menu ... The translations seem to catch nuances but, to my mind, there are a few glitches ... Such discords are rare as are the editing errors in what is an excellent anthology.
...[a] lavish, and immensely capacious, volume ... overall it’s a collection full of prompts to discover more writing by the listed authors. Yet, Lahiri does something more than simply present her list. She conditions the reader to see the group of writers as a collective, with all sorts of hybridity defining their profiles as writers as well as their texts.