In Italy, as in most Western cultures, the 1960s was a dynamic and turbulent decade of social change. Dacia Maraini, in this short story collection, explores the vexing, tragic, and often humorous experiences of women living in modern urban Italy.
With a style as lean as Samuel Beckett’s, and a love of the absurd that rivals Eugène Ionesco, Maraini’s stories are both poignant and wickedly funny. The writer’s ironic lens zooms in to examining sexual relations, working conditions, women’s issues, and family dynamics, illuminating the lives of an entire generation. With classic existential angst, Maraini’s characters are often profoundly dissatisfied with their situations, but also ill-equipped to initiate any real change. This feminist version of the absurd is deliciously wry and terrible. The stories have a real bite.
Originally published as Mio marito in 1968, this is the first English translation of My Husband.
"This important collection of short stories by Dacia Maraini presents a fascinating, and at times disturbing, microcosm of the lives of women in Italy during the 1960s. With poignancy, humour, and a keen sense of the absurd, Maraini explores fundamental feminist issues such as female gender roles, sexuality, identity, and the violence of women's everyday oppression. The stories in this volume provide a thought-provoking critique of the social mores and infrastructures that restrict urban women's lives, casting a sometimes harsh light on the lives of women in Italy during a period of great social and political change. Vera Golini's expert translation of this work makes this collection a compelling read. "- Luciana Ricciutelli, Editor, Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme
"Vera Golini's translation. ..is accompanied by an excellent critical introduction, a near-exhaustive bibliography, and an overview of the author's life. ...Maraini's loosely woven, deceptively non-engaged, often absurd stories. ..offer a biting critique of the social, economic, and sexual practices informing her condition. "- University of Toronto Quarterly, Letters in Canada 2004, Vol 75, no 1, Winter 2006
"Originally published in 1968 as Mio Marito, this collection of 17 short stories offers a compelling, often disturbing vision of the lives of women in urban Italy during the 1960s. Maraini explores, in a spare and ironic style, fundamental feminist issues of gender roles, identity, sexuality, and violence against women. Society's collusion in the oppression of women in working relationships, through the family dynamic, and in sexual relations comes under her intense scrutiny. While many of Maraini's stories are dark and her characters come to a tragic or absurd end, others are wickedly humorous, particularly those in which she treads a fine line between the comic and the absurd. ... Vera Golini's translation is true to the spirit of the original. ... But Golini offers us much more than a translation: she includes a succinct critical introduction, a detailed afterword on Maraini's life and prose, a number of useful appendixes, and a critical bibliography. Thus, this edition of My Husband will not only appeal to a general reading public, but it will also provide invaluable assistance to scholars and students interested in contemporary and comparative literature, cultural studies, women's studies, and feminism. "- Canadian Book Review Annual, 2006
"In the translation of this collection of Maraini's short stories, Vera Golini succeeds not only in capturing the spirit of her narrative but also in rendering Maraini's own colloquial language, with its many nuances, into an English which is accurate, fluid, and extremely easy to read. As one reads these stories, Maraini's world comes to life and the experiences of her characters become real and believable. "- Leonard G. Sbrocchi, University of Ottawa