The extraordinary autobiography of novelist Marina Jarre, tracing her identity and relationships through a turbulent era of European history.
'Beautifully ingenious' Vivian Gornick
'Her masterwork' New York Times
'Rich and lyrical... Jarre's life is fascinating' New Statesman
'Ann Goldstein's shimmering translation of Jarre's prose delivers into English a European masterpiece' Benjamin Taylor
'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century' Il Libraio
In distinctive, lyrical prose Jarre depicts an exceptionally multinational and complicated family: her elusive, handsome father, a Jewish man who perished in the Holocaust; her severe, cultured mother, an Italian Lutheran who translated Russian literature; her sister and Latvian grandparents. Shifting between past and present, Jarre narrates her coming-of-age; first as a linguistic minority in a Baltic nation and then in traumatic exile to Italy after her parents' divorce. There, she lived with her maternal grandparents among a community of French-speaking Waldensian Protestants and experienced the hostility of fascist Italy in the 1930s.
Published in Italy in 1987 and now translated into English for the first time, Distant Fathers probes questions of memory, language, womanhood, belonging and estrangement, while asking what a homeland can be for those who have none, or many more than one.