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“A galvanizing social novel, spacious and strenuous, like a film that would have been cosigned by Ken Loach and Gus Van Sant.”
“Characters unlike any you’ll find in Italian literature nowadays.”
“A book that skims close to the realm of the epic in its description of the desperate and empty lust for life of a tribe of young people and the small and vast tragedies that emerge from their struggles.”
—Giorgio De Rienzo, Corriere delle Sera
“A novel capable of holding together—in the drift or in the tragedy of many lives—the thread of a hope that springs from two young lives that may be destined to fit together.”
—Giovanni Tesio, Tuttolibri—La Stampa
“Silvia Avallone has a gift for painting a believable picture of not only her two leading characters, but of a crowd of actors: grief-stricken women, lazy factory workers, brutish thugs who frequent lap-dancing bars, young girls and boys who want to make the world their own. . . . Something verging on the operatic elegantly fills the pages of this remarkable novel.”
—Giovanni Pacchiano, Il Sole 24 Ore
“With Silvia Avallone, we are in the presence of a natural, original, and untutored talent, capable of capturing the contradictions of her own time in a rebellious, heartbreaking way. But the greatness of [Swimming to Elba], at once carnal and chaste [...] lies in the powerful way that it identifies beauty and friendship as the two decisive, all-encompassing emotions of adolescence. It is a book that demands love, in its truthfulness, in its refusal to turn away from the life-giving breath of poetry.”
—Giuseppe Conte, Il Giornale
“Avallone skillfully tugs every thread in her tapestry with an artist’s hand. . . . This Avallone is a force of nature, with her exacting, precise prose, as in the spectacular opening passages.”
—Massimo Onofri, Avvenire
“Following in the footsteps of the great tradition of a Tuscan and European author like Romano Bilenchi.”
—Davide Barili, Gazzetta di Parma
“Swimming to Elba is intelligent and well written. It deserves its success: Silvia Avallone gives us a penetrating vision of the way the new proletariat lives. She narrates that story very well. I was reminded of Tuscan authors such as Carlo Cassola and Vasco Pratolini. She is a modern writer, but you can sense those roots.”
—Dacia Maraini, Oggi
“From this first novel, [Silvia Avallone] might one day write a novel that is to literature what Bernardo Bertolucci’s Novecento was for film.”
—Gianfranco Franchi, Secolo d’Italia
“A masterpiece of fine writing, literature in its purest state, as if the words had flowed like molten steel out of the blast furnace, to recount perfect characters and a magnificent story.”
Posted April 23, 2013
Original, tear-jerking and inspiring, Swimming to Elba follows two young girls as they come-of-age in a rural Italian village. However, the book doesn't only focus on the two girls but also on the adults, who aren't much smarter than the girls, and also gives the view that this sad little village is actually a living breathing being. All in all I highly enjoyed this book regardless of how often it had me in tears.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 23, 2013
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I wanted to like Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone soooo badly.
But I know very clearly why I dislike it. It wasn't for me. Let me explain.
Anna and Francesca are the best of friends. They live in a poor town in Italy, but they are everything anyone would ever want: beautiful, sexy, popular. . . and they throw it in everyone's faces. They also are 13 years old.
As they enter high school and learn more about themselves their friendship changes.
I love the aspects of friendship and change, even the snottiness with the popularity.
But I couldn't stand all the sexuality. They are YOUNG teens! I know it happens, but I don't want to read about it. And the drugs. . . all over the place in their town. It was just a little too dark at too young of an age for my liking.
Maybe you'll feel differently.
Thanks for reading,
Rebecca @ Love at First Book