Her Side of the Story By Alba de Céspedes

Her Side of the Story

From the author of FORBIDDEN NOTEBOOK

ISBN: 9781662601439


Published by (2023-11-14)

"The book is both a brilliant psychological portrait of an intelligent young woman's growing pains as she tries to come into her own as she navigates family and gendered relationship roles, like a modern Jane Eyre or Madame Bovary, and a snapshot of a whole society in the interwar and WWII years. It's written in intimate, gorgeous, urgent prose, beautifully translated by Jill Foulston, and the story is peopled by so many well-drawn characters that it really comes alive. This is one of my favorite books of the year."
—Jennifer R., Powell's
"A new translation of a novel initially published in 1949. Set in Italy during the rise of fascism, this very personal story immerses us in what it was to be a woman during this time. Traveling from Rome, to the Italian countryside, and back to Rome, a woman who loves intensely details her deepest feelings and struggles with life. Far from trite, and heartrendingly honest, this portrayal is as personal a book as I have ever read."
—Christina Richards, The King’s English

"Not since Jane Eyre have I read a book so psychologically astute about the beauty, ugliness and passion of a young woman's mind and life -- but this is thoroughly modern and written by an anti-Fascist."
"A breathtaking account of a young woman's ardent attempts at loving and living under a patriarchal and increasingly Fascist 1930s-40s Italy—Her Side of the Story is an astonishing political awakening novel from a communist Italian-Cuban writer that will delight fans of Elena Ferrante, Elsa Morante, and Annie Ernaux. De Céspedes' writing is viscerally vulnerable. Her novel reads like a confession; one that has everything at stake and leaves no stone unturned, no matter how painful for the narrator."
—Charlie Jones, A Room of One's Own
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“A courageous novel, beautifully imagined and written.”
—Elena Lappin, The Washington Post

"De Cespedes' work has lost none of its subversive force”
—The New York Times Book Review

* "De Céspedes’s melancholy testament to a hidden life feels timeless and vital."
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

From the author of Forbidden Notebook, Alba de Céspedes, a richly told novel she called “the story of a great love and of a crime.”

As she looks back on her life, Alessandra Corteggiani recalls her youth during the rise of fascism in Italy, the resistance, and the fall of Mussolini, the lives of the women in her family and her working-class neighborhood, rigorously committed to telling “her side of the story.” 

Alessandra witnesses her mother, an aspiring concert pianist, suffer from the inability to escape her oppressive marriage. Later, she is sent away to live with her father's relatives in the country, in the hope she’ll finally learn to submit herself to the patriarchal system and authority. But at the farm, Alessandra grows increasingly rebellious, conscious of the unjust treatment of generations of hardworking women in her family. When she refuses the marriage proposal from a neighboring farmer, she is sent back to Rome to tend to her ailing father.

In Rome, Alessandra meets Francesco, a charismatic anti-fascist professor, who ostensibly admires and supports her sense of independence and justice. But she soon comes to recognize that even as she respects Francesco and is keen to participate in his struggle to reclaim their country from fascism, this respect is unrequited, and that her own beloved husband is ensnared by patriarchal conventions when it comes to their relationship. 

In these pages, De Céspedes delivers a breathtakingly accurate and timeless portrayal of the complexity of the female condition against the dramatic backdrop of WWII and the partisan uprising in Italy.

Book Details

Format: Hardcover
Price: 29 USD / 39 CAD
Published: 2023-11-14
ISBN: 9781662601439
Page Count: 512
Trim Size: 6 x 9

"Alba de Céspedes wrote novels in the 1940s and 1950s that were radically contemporary, both then and now . . . [her] fiction is written with an acute sense of responsibility to tell the truth. . . . Her Side of the Story is a courageous novel, beautifully imagined and written.”
—Elena Lappin, The Washington Post

"Her Side of the Story is an achievement that warrants not only a second look at this forgotten writer, but also an important place in the canon of women’s literature."
—Margarita Diaz, The Chicago Review of Books

★ "De Céspedes’s melancholy testament to a hidden life feels timeless and vital."
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"A lavishly detailed critique of romantic ideals and social constrictions."
Kirkus Reviews

"De Cespedes' work has lost none of its subversive force."
—The New York Times Book Review

"Asks perennial questions about the value and dangers of an examined life."
Lara Feigel, The Guardian

"Her Side of the Story is a remarkable investigation into selfhood, made all the knottier by the fact that as its narrator recounts her life story she remains tortured by the legacy of her mother."
—Ellen Pierson-Hagger, The New Statesman