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The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1962)

af Giorgio Bassani

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Serier: The Novel of Ferrara (3)

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Giorgio Bassani's acclaimed novel of unrequited love and the plight of the Italian Jews on the brink of World War II has become a classic of modern Italian literature.   Made into an Academy Award--winning film in 1970, The Garden of the Finzi--Continis is a richly evocative and nostalgic depiction of prewar Italy. The narrator, a young middle-class Jew in the Italian city of Ferrara, has long been fascinated from afar by the Finzi-Continis, a wealthy and aristocratic Jewish family, and especially by their daughter Micol. But it is not until 1938 that he is invited behind the walls of their lavish estate, as local Jews begin to gather there to avoid the racial laws of the Fascists, and the garden of the Finzi-Continis becomes an idyllic sanctuary in an increasingly brutal world. Years after the war, the narrator returns in memory to his doomed relationship with the lovely Micol, and to the predicament that faced all the Ferrarese Jews, in this unforgettably wrenching portrait of a community about to be destroyed by the world outside the garden walls.… (mere)
  1. 51
    Gensyn med Brideshead : kaptajn Charles Ryders åndelige og verdslige erindringer af Evelyn Waugh (Rebeki)
    Rebeki: Both set prior to the Second World War, with a narrator looking back on time spent with a memorable family in a memorable and evocative setting. Same sense of melancholy and nostalgia.
  2. 10
    The Jewish husband af Lia Levi (Imprinted)
  3. 10
    Family Lexicon af Natalia Ginzburg (marieke54)
  4. 00
    Yesterday's Streets af Silvia Tennenbaum (Jozefus)
    Jozefus: Het breed opgezette familie-epos van Tennenbaum beschrijft de lotgevallen van twee joodse families uit de gegoede burgerij van Frankfurt am Main, die de verschrikkingen van twee wereldoorlogen meemaken. De intiemere roman van Bassani speelt zich af in het Italië van de jaren dertig: na een bezoek aan de Etruskische graven in Cerveteri blikt de verteller terug op zijn jeugd in Ferrara en op zijn niet-beantwoorde liefde voor het joodse meisje Micòl Finzi-Contini, dat in 1943 met haar ouders naar een Duits concentratiekamp is weggevoerd.… (mere)
  5. 00
    Last Train from Liguria af Christine Dwyer Hickey (marieke54)
  6. 00
    Medløberen af Alberto Moravia (mambo_taxi)
  7. 01
    Historien af Elsa Morante (roby72)
  8. 01
    A Princess in Berlin af Arthur R. G. Solmssen (Imprinted)
  9. 01
    The Time of Indifference af Alberto Moravia (thecoroner)
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The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani is the third book in The Novel of Ferrara, an elegy for the Jewish community of Ferrara. Bassani saved his parents and sister from the invading Germans, but the rest of his family died in the Holocaust, as did the rest of the Jewish community. We're told at the beginning of this semi-autobiographical novel that the Finzi-Continis died in a concentration camp in 1943.

The narrator is unnamed, so for convenience I'll call him Giorgio His family is integrated into the fabric of Ferrara; they observe Jewish rituals but see themselves as Italians as well. By contrast, the extremely wealthy Finzi-Continis hold themselves aloof from both the Jewish community and the wider Ferrarese community. Micol and Alberto Finzi-Contini, both of a similar age to Giorgio, are educated by tutors in their huge, opulent mansion outside Ferrara, which is surrounded by many acres of walled garden. Micol and Giorgio first meet at the wall, when they about ten years old. She invites him in, but he dithers too long and it's ten years before they meet again, brought together by Mussolini's racial laws of 1939. Jews have been banned from the tennis club, so Micol and Alberto invite the Jewish ex-members and their friends to play on their home court. Every afternoon for the summer, the young people play tennis, and a close friendship develops between Giogio and Micol. Outside the garden Anti-Semitism spreads and the danger for Jews increases, but the people behind the wall ignore reality. It's not just them: the Jews of Ferrara refuse to believe that their Italian friends will turn on them.

There is such a feeling of temporariness. Giorgio, Alberto and another man have academic conversations about films and literature. Alberto takes great pride in his possessions. Giorgio fancies himself in love with Micol. To the reader it all seems so pointless, because we know what's going to happen.

There was too much academic chit-chat for my liking and the translation is a bit clumsy, but I found The Garden of the Finzi-Continis well worth reading. Bassani was there. ( )
  pamelad | Feb 2, 2024 |
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani is an Italian historical novel that was originally published in 1962. It records the relationship between the narrator and the children of an aristocratic Jewish family, the Finzi-Continis, spanning the years of Benito Mussolini’s rise to the start of WW II.

Set in the Italian city of Ferrara, we see through the eyes of the young narrator how he fell in love with Micol Finzi-Continis and although both were Jewish, their families couldn’t be further apart in social standing. The young narrator falls back upon friendship with both Micol, the daughter, and Alberto, the son. The family tennis court becomes their meeting place but all around them the anti-Semitic forces are tightening their grip.

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is a touching and melancholy coming-of-age story of lost love. And while the outcome is not a surprise, the beautiful writing and evocative descriptions bring to life this small world. While there has been lots written about the plight of the Jews under the Nazis, I haven’t read much about how the Italian Jews were treated so I found this haunting story quite captivating. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 2, 2024 |
I remember really liking the movie (Dominique Sanda as Micol!), but for me the novel disappointed stylistically and organizationally: it should have focused more sharply on the youthful heartbreak while reserving the larger social tragedy as massively understated counterpoint. In this I found the movie to be much more successful. ( )
  Cr00 | Apr 1, 2023 |
En la ciudad de Ferrara, cuando la comunidad judía vive amenazada por el antisemitismo del gobierno fascista, los Finzi-Contini—una familia judía de abolengo—llevan una vida apartada en una lujosa villa, rodeada por un jardín majestuoso. Alberto y su hermana Micòl, los hijos de la familia, deciden invitar a algunos amigos a su casa, después de que a muchos de ellos los hayan expulsado del club de tenis de la ciudad. El protagonista de la historia, un joven judío de clase media, accede así a esta hermética comunidad—aparentemente inmune a las leyes raciales—, en cuyas reuniones convergen la política y la vida privada, y aflora el amor entre el muchacho y la joven Micòl. Sin embargo, el curso de la historia parece arrastrarlos hacia un destino funesto y abocarlos a precipitarse al abismo que se abre bajo sus pies.
  Natt90 | Jul 18, 2022 |
E könyv értéke nagyrészt abból fakad, hogy a zsidó létet nem az áldozatiságból antedatált értéktartalomként jeleníti meg, vagyis nem „jótulajdonságként”, ami ellen a pokol erői szövetkeztek, hanem puszta adottságként, ami egy jobb világban nem oszt és nem szoroz. Bassani hősei néha-néha zsinagógába járnak ugyan, és asztalukon egzotikus kóser csemegék bukkannak fel, de zsidóságukkal jobbára csak akkor szembesülnek, amikor a faji törvényekre hivatkozva nem engedik be őket a teniszklubba vagy a könyvtárba. Hisz ők magukra mindenekelőtt olaszként tekintenek, olyannyira, hogy sokan közülük elsők között léptek be a fasiszta pártba, mert nagytőkésként ők is meg akarták menteni Itáliát a bolsevizmus meg a liberalizmus mételyétől. Tragédiájuk épp ebből a kozmikus félreértésből fakad: sosem gondolták volna, hogy ők lesznek a métely, ami ellen harcolni kell.

Nagyon szép regény – csöndesen tragikus, visszafogottan megrázó. Egy kudarcba fúlt kísérlet megörökítése: néhány ferrarai fiatal a világháború előestéjén megpróbálja létrehozni a saját külön kis buborékját a Finzi-Contiék csodás kertjében, művészetről, politikáról diskurálnak, teniszeznek, szerelmesek lesznek, és közben igyekeznek nem észrevenni, hogy a külvilág egyre ellenségesebb irántuk. Bassani egy egészen egyszerű húzással ad ennek a forgatókönyvnek fájdalmas többletjelentést: már az előszóban nyilvánvalóvá teszi, hogy a szereplők, akiket megkísérel megszerettetni velünk, a háború végét jórészt már nem élik meg. Így hát minden, ami ezeken a lapokon történik, bármilyen sorsfordítónak és gyönyörűnek hat, tulajdonképpen csak közjáték – gondolatnyi csend, amíg a kivégzőosztag újratölt. ( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (57 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Giorgio Bassaniprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Arnaud, MichelOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Elensky, TorbjörnForordmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Haar, Jan van derOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
McKendrick, JamieOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Meijsing, GeertenEfterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Montale, EugenioBidragydermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Romein, A.J.Oversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Törne-Arfwedson, Elisabeth vonOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Traats, JokeOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Weaver, WilliamOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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The heart, to be sure, always has something to say about what
is to come, to him who heeds it. But what does the heart know?
Only a little of what has already happened.
 - I promessi sposi, chapter viii
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For many years I wanted to write about the Finzi-Continis - about Micol and Alberto, about Professor Ermanno and Signora Olga - and about all the others who inhabited or, like me, frequented the house in Corso Ercole I d'Este, in Ferrara, just before the outbreak of the last war. (Prologue)
The tomb was big, massive, really imposing: a kind of half-ancient, half-Oriental temple of the sort seen in the sets of Aida and Nabucco in vogue in our opera houses until a few years ago.
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Giorgio Bassani's acclaimed novel of unrequited love and the plight of the Italian Jews on the brink of World War II has become a classic of modern Italian literature.   Made into an Academy Award--winning film in 1970, The Garden of the Finzi--Continis is a richly evocative and nostalgic depiction of prewar Italy. The narrator, a young middle-class Jew in the Italian city of Ferrara, has long been fascinated from afar by the Finzi-Continis, a wealthy and aristocratic Jewish family, and especially by their daughter Micol. But it is not until 1938 that he is invited behind the walls of their lavish estate, as local Jews begin to gather there to avoid the racial laws of the Fascists, and the garden of the Finzi-Continis becomes an idyllic sanctuary in an increasingly brutal world. Years after the war, the narrator returns in memory to his doomed relationship with the lovely Micol, and to the predicament that faced all the Ferrarese Jews, in this unforgettably wrenching portrait of a community about to be destroyed by the world outside the garden walls.

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