Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone

Happy Women in Translation Month!

My first review for this month is of Silvia Avallone's Swimming to Elba, translated from Italian by Antony Shugaar. Swimming to Elba is the story of two best friends, Anna and Francesca, and their journey as they grow up, drift apart, and then come back together again, interspersed with the stories of their family and friends, and the impact of living in an industrial town in Italy.

It started kind of weird, and was not really the gentle friendship story I was hoping for, but eventually  I did get into it and really came to appreciate the eloquent and passionate writing style. I think the distant third person perspective was the hardest thing to get used to, since I'm used to reading books where I'm very much inside the characters' heads. Swimming to Elba also slips in and out of many characters' heads, although of course the focus is on Anna and Francesca and how they pull everyone around them into their brilliant and entrancing orbit.

The best part, though, was definitely the writing; the kind of dreamy descriptive writing style that makes me realize why I love words, and as a result makes me want to write. It actually reminded me a bit of Melina Marchetta's books, as it's very much a story of family, friendship, and intense loves. However, it was very much just a glimpse into these character's lives at a certain period of time, with not really any significant plot, which is where I think it differs from Melina Marchetta's works.

I would recommend Swimming to Elba for anyone who is looking for a decadent, sensuous beach read to enjoy in the last weeks of summer. :)

Check it out on:

Follow the WITMonth hashtag for more great Women in Translation recommendations for this month! See you next week for another Women in Translation review.

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