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The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio…

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1962)

by Giorgio Bassani

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,416397,721 (3.78)85
  1. 51
    Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (Rebeki)
    Rebeki: Both set prior to the Second World War, with a narrator looking back on time spent with a memorable family in a memorable and evocative setting. Same sense of melancholy and nostalgia.
  2. 10
    The Jewish Husband by Lia Levi (Imprinted)
  3. 10
    Family Sayings by Natalia Ginzburg (marieke54)
  4. 00
    De Wertheims : Twee oorlogen, één familiegeschiedenis by Silvia Tennenbaum (Jozefus)
    Jozefus: Het breed opgezette familie-epos van Tennenbaum beschrijft de lotgevallen van twee joodse families uit de gegoede burgerij van Frankfurt am Main, die de verschrikkingen van twee wereldoorlogen meemaken. De intiemere roman van Bassani speelt zich af in het Italië van de jaren dertig: na een bezoek aan de Etruskische graven in Cerveteri blikt de verteller terug op zijn jeugd in Ferrara en op zijn niet-beantwoorde liefde voor het joodse meisje Micòl Finzi-Contini, dat in 1943 met haar ouders naar een Duits concentratiekamp is weggevoerd.… (more)
  5. 01
    A Princess in Berlin by Arthur R. G. Solmssen (Imprinted)
  6. 01
    History by Elsa Morante (roby72)
  7. 01
    The Time of Indifference by Alberto Moravia (thecoroner)

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» See also 85 mentions

English (27)  Dutch (4)  French (2)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Dal titolo o dall'ambientazione storica sul fascismo ci si aspetta qualcosa di diverso, proprio il fatto di ritrovarsi con qualcosa di diverso e piu' insolito e interessante ne fa un buon romanzo. La conclusione inoltre non scade nel banale come accade sovente trattando temi e/o ambientazioni simili (mi riferisco anche all'ambientazione storica), anzi gli attimi che delineano lo scioglimento finale costituiscono proprio la parte piu' densa del significato che l'autore ha voluto dare. ( )
  Mlvtrglvn | Jan 5, 2018 |
Un romanzo di educazione sentimentale, molto aderente alla realt della vita. ( )
  AlessandraEtFabio | Dec 22, 2017 |
Slow-moving and atmospheric but very sweet (bittersweet?). ( )
  heggiep | Aug 29, 2017 |
Un racconto nostalgico, un amore effimero alle soglie della Seconda guerra mondiale. Da leggere ( )
  cloentrelibros | Aug 23, 2016 |
This book is on the 1001 Books to Read Before you Die list. I will never read all the books on the list nor do I want to but the list does work to suggest classic reading material that may not have made it to my attention otherwise. That's the case with this book. I know this book was made into a movie but I never saw it and I didn't know anything about the plot.

Written in the first person, the narrator (and author?) tells of growing up in the small Jewish community in Ferrara, a city near Bologna in Italy. As a child his family and the Finzi-Continis sat next to each other in the synagogue. The narrator's family consisted of three children of whom the narrator was the oldest. The Finzi-Continis had also had three children but the oldest, a boy, had died at the age of six. The son, Alberto, was a little older than the narrator and the daughter, Micol, was a little younger. The Finzi-Contini children were educated at home so the narrator didn't encounter them very often. Their family owned a great deal of land outside of the city and were wealthy. The narrator's family, while not poor, were not social equals with the Finzi-Continis. However, in 1939 when the Racial Laws started restricting the places were Jews could go Alberto and Micol invited a group of young people, including the narrator, to come play tennis on their tennis court. Micol and the narrator would pass the time by going for walks around the large estate when others were playing. The narrator fell in love with Micol. Even in winter, as often as he could, he would go to her house hoping to spend time with her. Micol rebuffed his advances and asked him to not come as much. For months he pined for her but finally his father asked him to give her up, counselling him that there could be no future for the two of them because of the difference in their stations and the impending war. And so, the narrator gave up his first love.

At first I felt the translation was clunky because it seemed the sentences would either run on or else end abruptly. Then I decided that was Bassani's writing style and after a while I grew used to it. It is a beautifully tragic love story set in a turbulent time. I would recommend it. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jul 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (55 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Giorgio Bassaniprimary authorall editionscalculated
Arnaud, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haar, Jan van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKendrick, JamieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meijsing, GeertenAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montale, EugenioContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romein, A.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Traats, JokeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weaver, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The heart, to be sure, always has something to say about what
is to come, to him who heeds it. But what does the heart know?
Only a little of what has already happened.
 - I promessi sposi, chapter viii
To Micol
First words
For many years I wanted to write about the Finzi-Continis - about Micol and Alberto, about Professor Ermanno and Signora Olga - and about all the others who inhabited or, like me, frequented the house in Corso Ercole I d'Este, in Ferrara, just before the outbreak of the last war.
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Please clarify if this is the book or the movie.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156345706, Paperback)

Giorgio Bassani's masterwork has Vittorio de Sica's 1971 film adaptation to thank for its dual success and obscurity. Not enough people know that this tale of a middle-class Jewish youth's obsession with the far more aristocratic Micol Finzi-Contini stems from a novel, not a novelization. Bassani's doom- and tomb-ridden examination of one-sided love is far more complex--about individuals' inability to contend with personal and political annihilation. Events call for heroism, yet it seems "downright absurd that now, all of a sudden, exceptional behavior was demanded of us." The narrator writes in retrospect, 13 years after World War II's end, and reveals the Finzi-Continis' 1943 deportation to Germany right from the start: "Who could say if they found any sort of burial at all?"

As Fascist racial laws go from strength to strength, the family, which had long isolated itself from the other inhabitants of Ferrara, opens its walled grounds and tennis court to other young Jews and even returns to the local temple. Unfortunately, the situation encourages the narrator's dream that Micol will return his love, and she is forced into cruel honesty. "She looked into my eyes, and her gaze entered me, straight, sure, hard: with the limpid inexorability of a sword."

The author has re-created a tragic era in which even nobility could not outrun events, let alone admit they needed to. (For a nonfiction account of the fates of five Italian Jewish families under fascism, see Alexander Stille's Benevolence and Betrayal.) Bassani's elision of historical and personal agony is furthermore superbly translated by William Weaver. All is foretold in the novel's Manzonian epigraph, "The heart, to be sure, always has something to say about what is to come, to him who heeds it. But what does the heart know? Only a little of what has already happened."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:25 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The young, middle-class Jewish narrator recounts his relationship with the Finzi-Continis, an insular, upper-class Jewish family, in Ferrara on the eve of World War II and the family's blindness to impending destruction. The source of an acclaimed feature film directed by Vittorio De Sica.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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