‘If Ferrante is a friend, Ginzburg is a mentor.’ — Lara Feigel, Guardian
‘Ginzburg’s beautiful words have such solidity and simplicity. I read her with joy and amazement.’ — Tessa Hadley
‘Dear Michele, she wrote, I’m writing primarily to tell you that your father is sick. Go and visit him. He says he hasn’t seen you for days.’
Michele is the beloved only son of a large dysfunctional family in 1970s Rome. Headstrong and independent, he has disappeared to England to escape the dangers of his radical political ties. Back in Italy, his father lies dying.
Michele’s departure sets forth a series of events that will bring together everyone in his life: his mother Adriana, living in the countryside with her twin daughters Bebetta and Nannetta; his long-suffering sister Angelica; his loyal and sad friend Osvaldo; and Mara, a young woman who is prone to showing up on doorsteps with a baby that may or may not be Michele’s.
The story of the Prodigal Son turned on its head, Happiness, as Such is an immensely wise and absurdly funny novel-in-letters about complicated families and missed connections.