Distant Fathers

(Author) (Translator)
21,000+ Reviews
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Product Details
$16.95  $15.76
New Vessel Press
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.48 pounds

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About the Author
Marina Jarre was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1925, and lived in Italy from 1935 until her death at the age of 90 in 2016. Cultural identity, personal character, psychology, and autobiographical themes are central elements of her novels and stories.

Ann Goldstein is a former editor at the New Yorker. She has translated works by, among others, Elena Ferrante, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Alessandro Baricco, and is the editor of the Complete Works of Primo Levi in English. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and awards from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

"A gift to the reader. With neither cynicism nor sentimentality, fairy-tale resolutions nor off-putting embitterment, Jarre makes us feel the hard, dull ache of the spiritual aloneness that countless lives endure, even--no, perhaps especially--when those lives are taking place in the shadow of a dramatic world war."

--The New York Review of Books

"Recounts a life of displacement through rich sense memories ... Jarre focusses on specific, intense recollections: the jellied calves' feet her father ate, herbs in her grandmother's mountain garden, even the taste of Nivea skin cream. The book's elliptical string of fragments captures the nonlinear nature of memory."
--The New Yorker

"This impressionistic memoir by an overlooked Italian writer--the child of a Christian mother and a Jewish father killed in the Holocaust--is seen as her masterwork."
--The New York Times

"Although Jarre, who died at 90 in 2016, published more than a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction ... Distant Fathers is the first of her books available in English. It must not be the last ... Written in lucid, luminous prose ... she conceives of her life in terms of a darkness broken by occasional bursts of illumination -- 'tiny pinpoint glimmers.' ... Marina Jarre's struggle to find fitting words flashes through the murk."
--The Los Angeles Review of Books

"A great book finally receives the notice it deserves ... Prolific and distinguished, Ann Goldstein is an ideal translator for Jarre's provocative combination of psychological insight, feminist critique, transnational reflections, and historical interrogations."
--Reading in Translation

"Astringent, complex ... Jarre suffers a 'sense of guilt for my coldness, ' yet that coldness is what makes this memoir so distinctive. She convicts herself of being a coward and a liar, but she is an extraordinarily honest liar. Few writers have written so ruthlessly about themselves."
--The Times Literary Supplement

"An extraordinary memoir from a writer with an unforgettable voice ... Distant Fathers is remarkable because of Jarre's ability to render her inner world precisely, including her lifelong sense of detachment. The book's great achievement is allowing readers fully to inhabit Jarre's fascinating, singular mind."
--Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)

"This stunning autobiography is both a love letter to a flawed and vanished childhood and a map of a woman's inner topography as she fumbles toward identity. Never before translated into English, Jarre is a wonderful new discovery. Readers will be excited by the wealth of her archive, eagerly awaiting translation."
--Words Without Borders

"Marina Jarre is an original, powerful and incisive writer ... Her works--true, small-scale, essential masterpieces--have found passionate readers and critics and have an indisputable place in Italian literature of the past fifty years."
--Claudio Magris, author of Danube and Blameless

"'Here is what it has felt like to be me, ' says every autobiography. The best, like Distant Fathers, go farther, plunging us into the stream of history--its ravages, its reprieves. Ann Goldstein's shimmering translation of Jarre's prose delivers into English a European masterpiece."
--Benjamin Taylor, author of Here We Are and The Hue and Cry at Our House

"The late Italian novelist Jarre reflects on her life in this kaleidoscopic memoir, here appearing in English for the first time ... Gems of language and ideas abound ... Lyrical prowess ... Haunting prose."
--Publishers Weekly

"One-of-a-kind ... Stunning ... Treasures await in this work. Jarre's English-language debut is a story of an unforgettable life full of heartbreaking moments, and the author honors the genre of memoir by presenting her life and herself truthfully, warts and all."
--Full Stop

"Incandescent ... Masterfully renders the simultaneous, interlaced experience of someone displaced in times, places, and cultures ... This book speaks with such relevance to our own times ... Marina Jarre is an extraordinary rediscovery."
--Printed Matter, the monthly of Centro Primo Levi

"Midcentury European novelist Jarre (1925-2016) recalls the lifetime of dislocations that formed her changing sense of self ... Like Nabokov's Speak, Memory, this book is more concerned with time and perspective than narrative storytelling, though Jarre is more like Ferrante in her lack of nostalgia and unflinching focus on the difficulties of relationships. Connoisseurs of literary memoir will enjoy Jarre's precise way of capturing emotional experiences."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Marina Jarre ... writes about being haunted, about never knowing quite where she was, and about 'not belonging' ... with imagery that ranges from poetic and contemplative to graphic and even disgusting, revealing herself as unafraid to show what is often kept hidden for fear of judgement. The eloquence of Marina Jarre's insightful memoir reflects what had always been, even more than people and events, her true passion: words and stories."
--Foreword Reviews

"Marina Jarre's astonishing work reads like a dreamscape. Here, a Nabokovian memory mingles with meditations on homeland, womanhood, and sexuality. A book both sharp as a blade and glistening like a river in the sun."
--Lila Azam Zanganeh, author of The Enchanter: Nabokov and Happiness

"Marina Jarre's vibrant memoir is stunning in its intimacy, honesty, and finely observed detail."
--Hilma Wolitzer, author of An Available Man and Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket

"This is a beautifully ingenious memoir, saturated in the history of the European 20th century, and made all the more compelling by Ann Goldstein's luminous translation."
--Vivian Gornick, author of Fierce Attachments and The Odd Woman and the City

A 2021 "Must-Read" in Translation
--Book Riot

"A classic."
--La Repubblica

"It's an incalculable source of joy when ... one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century can resume dialogue with the readers of today."
--Il Libraio

"An overwhelming historical and literary panorama."
--Frankfurter Rundschau

"Lebedev is now at the height of his literary powers ... He compares the witch hunt on the German-speaking citizens of Russia during the First World War with the mutual suspicions of the Stalinist era and the persecution of dissidents in today's Russia."
--Neue Zürcher Zeitung

"Focuses on the hatred of outsiders, the cruel relief strategies of a frightened society ... An uncompromising critic of the Russian government ... Lebedev sees the mounting persecution of a minority not only as a consequence but almost as an inherent condition of totalitarianism."
--Süddeutsche Zeitung

"The hero of the novel, Kirill, enters a new world where he is confronted with shocking knowledge. It's almost as if alongside the laws of physics there is also the enigmatic force of history, the gravitation of the living past ... Lebedev strives to give expression to the unspeakable, to write about the violence, the war and the terror of Russia's recent past. Lebedev tells the story in lush and melancholy verbal imagery."
--Wiener Zeitung