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The New Yorker: "An impressionistic and mysterious narrative."

Date: May 2 2011



From the Land of the Moon, by Milena Agus, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Europa; $15).


This spare, fable-like novella tells the story of three generations of a Sardinian family, centering on an eccentric woman, referred to simply as “grandmother,” who, in the years following the Second World War,  pursues a brief but enthralling affair with a disfigured veteran before returning to her dutiful, passionless marriage and a “life of ashes after that one spark.” Agus sketches her characters lightly, creating an impressionistic and mysterious narrative that probes the tension between imagination and madness and celebrates minor moments of beauty in an absurd and unfair world—one that prompts the grandmother to wonder “why God, when it comes to love, which is the principal thing, organizes things in such a ridiculous way.”

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