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Family Lexicon (1963)

by Natalia Ginzburg

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8632418,821 (3.74)23
A masterpiece of European literature that blends family memoir and fiction An Italian family, sizable, with its routines and rituals, crazes, pet phrases, and stories, doubtful, comical, indispensable, comes to life in the pages of Natalia Ginzburg's Family Lexicon. Giuseppe Levi, the father, is a scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking--when he isn't provoked into angry remonstration by someone misspeaking or misbehaving or wearing the wrong thing. Giuseppe is Jewish, married to Lidia, a Catholic, though neither is religious; they live in the industrial city of Turin where, as the years pass, their children find ways of their own to medicine, marriage, literature, politics. It is all very ordinary, except that the background to the story is Mussolini's Italy in its steady downward descent to race law and world war. The Levis are, among other things, unshakeable anti-fascists. That will complicate their lives. Family Lexicon is about a family and language--and about storytelling not only as a form of survival but also as an instrument of deception and domination. The book takes the shape of a novel, yet everything is true. "Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt impelled at once to destroy [it]," Ginzburg tells us at the start. "The places, events, and people are all real."… (more)
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» See also 23 mentions

English (12)  Italian (7)  French (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Con sguardo, a detta sua, nella prefazione, assai fedele, la Ginzburg traccia un quadro autobiografico della sua famiglia durante gli anni del Fascismo e dell'immediato dopoguerra. La figura del padre, della madre, dei fratelli, i luoghi frequentati, le difficoltà, i drammi, le figure amiche di Balbo e Pavese, s'intrecciano in una storia piacevolissima da leggere e concedono al lettore di addentrarsi a contemplare quegli anni così travagliati e le lotte che vi si consumarono. ( )
  Carlomascellani73 | May 30, 2021 |
Edizione speciale edita per i Periodici del gruppo Mondadori. Per questa edizione "900 ITALIANO" @2015 Arnoldo Mondadori Editote SpA. Pubblicato su licenza di Giulio Einaudi editore SpA, Torino
Editing e impaginazione: Studio Greco
Copertina: Mas-213
INCIPIT
Nella mia casa paterna, quand'ero ragazzina, a tavola, se io o i miei fratelli rovesciavamo il bicchiere sulla tovaglia, o lasciavamo cadere il coltello, la voce di mio padre tuonava: – Non fate malagrazie!
  perseveranza | Feb 20, 2021 |
Un libro molto bello che è una storia vera ma che l'autrice vorrebbe fosse letto come fosse un romanzo. La famiglia dell'autrice, la famiglia Levi, è davvero variegata e interessante, così come tutti i loro amici e conoscenti. Siamo in un periodo storico molto importante che ha lasciato il segno nel futuro e che resterà per sempre indimenticabile. Ho trovato molto originale l'espediente del lessico famigliare per raccontare la vita della sua famiglia. Molte famiglie hanno questo lessico a volte ripetuto fino alla noia, un qualcosa che è solo loro e che gli altri non possono capire. Il romanzo mi ha messo la curiosità di conoscere i personaggi citati. Ho trovato Natalia Ginzburg molto ironica e con una capacità d'osservazione davvero impressionante! Lei piccola piccola registrava tutto. Aveva anche una grande fiducia e ammirazione dei propri genitori, nonostante non fossero certo perfetti. Bello, consigliato e forse anche da rileggere!
  GianninaAlchemilla | Jan 5, 2020 |
Autobiography presented as novel. Mostly tedious details of people whose characters are hardly developed. Interesting to learn about anti-fascists, but much information not interesting. ( )
  suesbooks | Dec 25, 2019 |
An unusually structured autobiography, as author Ginzburg recalls her life in Turin through the medium of 'family sayings' - the often-repeated jokes, rhymes, anecdotes and expostulations by her irrascible father, plaintive mother and her siblings, friends and relatives. Against these personalities, brought so vividly to life through their comments and conversations, we experience the threat of life as Fascists rise to power - imprisonments of the decidedly Left-leaning family and the death of the author's first husband.
Very very good read.

' "What's Terni got to whisper about with Mario and Paola?" my father asked my mother. "They are always there whispering in a corner. What is all this rigmarole?"
In my father's terms this meant secrets and he could not bear to see people absorbed in conversation and not know what it was all about.
"They are probably talking about Proust," my mother told him.
She had read Proust, and she too, like Terni and Paola, liked his work very much. She told my father that this Proust was someone who was very fond of his mother and his grandmother, he had asthma, and could never sleep and as he could not stand noise he had had the walls of his room lined with cork.
"He must have been a cad," said my father." ( )
  starbox | Aug 30, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ginzburg, Nataliaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amaturo, RaffaelePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baroni, StefanoPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyers, PeggyAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castro, GabrielaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cimara, DoraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Froboess, CorneliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garancini Costanzo, Ambrasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garboli, CesareForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klinkert-Pötters Vos, J.H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Low, D.M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McPhee, JennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parks, TimIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scarpa, Domenicosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segre, CesareIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toorenbeek, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolf, Judithsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nella mia casa paterna, quand'ero ragazzina, a tavola, se io o i miei fratelli rovesciavamo il bicchiere sulla tovaglia, o lasciavamo cadere un coltello, la voce di mio padre tuonava: - Non fate malagrazie!
The places, events, and people in this book are real. (Author's Preface)
At the dinner table in my father's home when I was a girl if I, or one of my siblings, knocked a glass over on the tablecloth or dropped a knife, my father's voice would thunder, "Watch your manners!"
Lexicon: a dictionary, or more precisely, an assemblage of words meaningful only to initiates, or a collection of phrases, any one of which, when uttered, no matter when or where, will at once identify the speaker as a member of a particular tribe. (Afterword)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

A masterpiece of European literature that blends family memoir and fiction An Italian family, sizable, with its routines and rituals, crazes, pet phrases, and stories, doubtful, comical, indispensable, comes to life in the pages of Natalia Ginzburg's Family Lexicon. Giuseppe Levi, the father, is a scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking--when he isn't provoked into angry remonstration by someone misspeaking or misbehaving or wearing the wrong thing. Giuseppe is Jewish, married to Lidia, a Catholic, though neither is religious; they live in the industrial city of Turin where, as the years pass, their children find ways of their own to medicine, marriage, literature, politics. It is all very ordinary, except that the background to the story is Mussolini's Italy in its steady downward descent to race law and world war. The Levis are, among other things, unshakeable anti-fascists. That will complicate their lives. Family Lexicon is about a family and language--and about storytelling not only as a form of survival but also as an instrument of deception and domination. The book takes the shape of a novel, yet everything is true. "Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt impelled at once to destroy [it]," Ginzburg tells us at the start. "The places, events, and people are all real."

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Hachette Book Group

2 editions of this book were published by Hachette Book Group.

Editions: 1559700270, 1559704675

Arcade Publishing

An edition of this book was published by Arcade Publishing.

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