Valentino and Sagittarius

Natalia Ginzburg (Author) Avril Bardoni (Translator)
& 1 more


Two novellas about family life and fraudsters by one of the twentieth century's best Italian novelists.

Valentino and Sagittarius are two of Natalia Ginzburg's most celebrated works: tales of love, hope, and delusion that are full of her characteristic mordant humor, keen psychological insight, and unflinching moral realism.

Valentino is the spoiled child of doting parents, who have no doubt that their handsome young son will prove to be a man of consequence. Nothing that Valentino does--his nights out on the town, his failed or incomplete classes--suggests there is any ground for that confidence, and Valentino's sisters view their parents and brother with a mixture of bitterness, stoicism, and bemusement. Everything becomes that much more confused when, out of the blue, Valentino finds an enterprising, wealthy, and strikingly ugly wife, who undertakes to support not just him but the whole family.

Sagittarius is another story of misplaced confidence recounted by a wary daughter, whose mother, a grass widow with time on her hands, moves to the suburbs, eager to find new friends. Brassy, bossy, and perpetually dissatisfied, especially when it comes to her children, she strikes up a friendship with the mysterious Scilla, and soon the two women are planning to open an art gallery. It turns out, however, that knowing better than everyone can hide a truly desperate naïveté.

Product Details

$15.95  $14.67
New York Review of Books
Publish Date
September 15, 2020
5.1 X 0.6 X 8.0 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author

Natalia Ginzburg (1916-1991) was the author of several novels, short stories, and essays, and two plays, many of which have been translated into English. NYRB Classics published a new translation of her novel Family Lexicon in 2017.

Among Avril Bardoni's translations are works by Riccardo Orizio and Luciano De Crescenzo.

Cynthia Zarin is the author of five books of poetry, as well five books for children and a collection of essays. She teaches at Yale and lives in New York City.