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It has been a long while in Italian fiction since such an authentic and engaging voice has appeared' Bruno uaranta in La Stampa Portrait of a Family with a Fat Daughter tells the story of four generations of a peasant family living outside Turin between the late nineteenth century and the boom years of the 1950s as they clamber out of grinding rural poverty into the sixties world of frozen fish and fridges The author's grandmother emigrates to California and returns to Italy semi paralysed after a mishap as she is giving birth When her father dies the author's eight year old mother returns to Italy to be brought up by a family she does not know to become Italian again and ultimately to marry a captivating 'man boy' whose fecklessness is grippingly described as is his time in a German prison camp in World War 11 She runs a small shop which gradually expands lifting the family out of the working class her daughter Margherita always a conscientious student reared by this extended matriarchal family becomes the writer of this book 'An epic novel which is the story of an Italy which no longer exists becomes the portrait of a family It is a novel which touches the heart' Valeria Parrella in Grazie


10 thoughts on “Portrait of a Family with a Fat Daughter

  1. says:

    This book made me think so much of my own mother her sisters and their story of being born into an agricultural northern Italian reality in the early 1920s and the unfolding of their migration story The women are strong and fascinating characters and I liked the way the story was not delivered in a linear way but rather dipped into events the way our memories seem to in random ways One thing I disliked was the clumsy title It almost caused me to put the book back on the shelf but I’m glad i didn’t