The New York Times has published the usual year-end lists. The most complete includes as many as 100 books, sorted in alphabetical order, the most synthetic only 10 titles. Although this is not a ranking, it is nice to see Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry in the first place. The American author was our guest Sunday 25 November at Studio in Triennale, where she conversed with the writer Teresa Ciabatti. We also dedicated an article and an interview with Halliday’s debut book. Below is a list of titles already released in Italy and those in the program, plus two works whose fate is still unknown.
Lisa Halliday, Asimmetria
Feltrinelli, translation by Federica Aceto
Asymmetry is a book that has been talked about a lot. The way it was launched in the United States did not fail to emphasize its originality, but it also focused on a leaked biographical indication: one of the novel’s main characters was inspired by Philip Roth, with whom the writer, who lives in Milan from eight years, he had entertained a romantic relationship as a young man, which then became a long friendship. But the reasons for the peculiarity of this book are found above all in the structure. Asymmetry is in fact a novel divided into three parts: in the first (written in the third person) the story of a young editor and aspiring writer is told who has a relationship with an elderly and famous writer; in the second (written in first person) it is said, instead, the airport nightmare of an Iraqi economist stuck in Heathrow as a suspect individual; the third, finally, is the transcription of an interview with the elderly writer for the broadcast of the BBC Desert Island Discs .
Tara Westover, Education
Feltrinelli, translation by Silvia Rota Sperti
The New York Times called it an “extraordinary memoir, a great act of courage and self-invention”. Westover was born in 1986 into a Mormon family in the Idaho mountains. She and her six brothers never went to school: they grew up without books, without knowing what happens in the world or what the past is: the only thing they have ever read is the Bible. Since they were very young they have helped parents in their jobs: the mother is a healer, the father has a metal dump. When Tara discovers education, everything changes. It is a double triumph: a scholarship at Cambridge, where he received a PhD in history, and this book, judged by virtually everyone (here the reviews of the New York Times and New Yorker ), a masterpiece.
Leïla Slimani, Lullaby
Rizzoli, translated by Elena Cappellini
Leila Slimati was born in 1981 in Rabat, Morocco, and lives in Paris. With his debut novel published by Rizzoli, In the garden of the ogre, he won the Prix de la Mamounia, the most important Moroccan literary recognition, while with Ninna nanna he won the Goncourt award and sold over 600 thousand copies. For Rizzoli, he also published The tales of sex and lies. What makes this domestic thriller special, according to the New York Times, is the analysis of the relationship of trust between a mother and the person to whom she entrusts what is most precious, which involves tensions linked to racial and class differences.
Lisa Brennan Jobs, Pesciolino
Rizzoli, translation by Stefania Cherchi and Sara Puggioni
As anyone who has already read the many biographies dedicated to the brilliant founder of Apple knows – the most famous, signed Walter Isaacson, came out in 2011 – Jobs became a father at 23 but refused to recognize his daughter until 1987, despite an examination of the DNA scientifically proved his paternity. Until his death, Jobs was an incredibly thrifty father when it came to economic and, above all, emotional support for his daughter. In Pesciolino (original title Small Fry ) is the same Lisa Brennan-Jobs – to whom the New York Times had dedicated a long profile – to tell the complicated relationship between her and her father.
Rebecca Makkai, We thought we could save
Einaudi (due out in 2019)
Appeared among the finalists of both the National Book Awards and the Booker Prize, The Great Believers (which in Italian will become We believed to save us ) is set between Chicago in the mid-1980s and the Paris of the 2015 terrorist attacks: as New York explains Times , which defines the voice of the actress as “empathetic but not sentimental”, “Makkai’s touching novel uses the AIDS epidemic and the story of a mother looking for her daughter to explore the effects of a senseless loss and our efforts to overcome it. ”
Michael Pollan, How to Change Your Mind
Adelphi (scheduled release between May and June of 2019)
Compared to the dilemma of the omnivore , Cotto , In defense of food and other food ethics books, this is the most personal book ever published by the American journalist and essayist. An essay that explores the history of psychedelics, and analyzes their recent revaluation. According to the New York Times, the most beautiful pages are those that speak of the spiritual character of the psychedelic experience. “What can we learn about ourselves when the part of our mind that controls the ego moves away? What is this older and more primitive part of the brain that connects us to the way a child sees the world? A journey leads us to ask ourselves how, in the end, we can get the most out of our lives as conscious beings in the world ».
Tommy Orange, There There
Sperling & Kupfer (scheduled for release in 2019)
For the New York Times the debut novel by Tommy Orange, author Cheyenne and Arapaho, is “an ambitious meditation on identity, on the myth filtered through the lens of time, on poverty and urban life”. The book is a picaresque and choral journey, composed of many short chapters in which to tell the world around them are a group of Native Americans settled in Oakland, California, travelling to a powwow (gathering of North American natives) . The book opens with an essay by Orange and then leaves the word to the other natives, touching on the themes of depression, alcoholism, unemployment and the difficulty of living with an “ambiguously non-white” ethnic identity.
Esi Edugyan, Washington Black
Neri Pozza (scheduled for release in June 2019)
Winner in 2018 of the prestigious Giller Prize, this novel defined by the New York Times as “a transcendental work of empathy and imagination”, opens in a sugar plantation in British Barbados in the days of slavery and “starting from a context of unreasonable brutality, quickly leads to a new world of possibilities: one in which men descend into the sky in hot-air balloons, dive into mysterious ocean depths and cross the Arctic on foot ».
Shane Bauer, American Prison
“When you’re undercover you have to be part of a context, but at the same time you always have to observe what happens, even to yourself,” said Shane Bauer during the Internazionale Festival in Ferrara. US journalist, in 2015 he worked as a prison guard in Louisiana to investigate US private prisons, and the following year he infiltrated a paramilitary group on the US-Mexican border. American prison, defined by the New York Times as “a meticulous catalogue of horrors”, is the book in which it tells American prisons.
David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass
“A monumental work on a monumental figure”, writes the New York Times of this detailed biography: Douglass was the conscience of Abraham Lincoln, and the book of Blight is the result of a life spent studying the subject. Douglass was the author of 3 autobiographies, in which he described his rise, from slavery to a key figure of the nineteenth century.