Harvard Square Book Circle
discusses Natalia Ginzburg's
translated by Jenny McPhee
September 30, 2019
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
The Harvard Square Book Circle, our in-store book club, discusses Natalia Ginzburg's masterpiece of autofiction, Family Lexicon, translated by Jenny McPhee.
About Family Lexicon
An Italian family, sizable, with its routines and rituals, crazes, pet phrases, and stories, doubtful, comical, indispensable, comes to life in the pages of Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon.
Giuseppe Levi, the father, is a scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking—when he isn’t provoked into angry remonstration by someone misspeaking or misbehaving or wearing the wrong thing. Giuseppe is Jewish, married to Lidia, a Catholic, though neither is religious; they live in the industrial city of Turin where, as the years pass, their children find ways of their own to medicine, marriage, literature, politics. It is all very ordinary, except that the background to the story is Mussolini’s Italy in its steady downward descent to race law and world war. The Levis are, among other things, unshakeable anti-fascists. That will complicate their lives.
Family Lexicon is about a family and language—and about storytelling, not only as a form of survival, but also as an instrument of deception and domination. The book takes the shape of a novel, yet everything is true. “Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt impelled at once to destroy [it],” Ginzburg tells us at the start. “The places, events, and people are all real.”
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
The Harvard Square Book Circle is Harvard Book Store's monthly book discussion group. We read a wide range of contemporary and classic literature, both fiction and nonfiction. The Book Circle typically meets the last Monday of the month, at 7pm in the bookstore. Meetings last about one hour. Registration is not required and no commitment is necessary. We always welcome new participants.
If you are interested in receiving the Book Circle's e-mail list, which provides updates and reminders about upcoming meetings, send us a message at email@example.com.
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