‘The Garden of the Finzi-Continis’ by Giorgio Bassani (Italian Lit Month)

A really great book and a film by Vittorio de Seca gathered much attention when it first came out. Particularly important and pertinant after the Italian election results!

Intermittencies of the Mind

For many years I have wanted to write about the Finzi-Continis — about Micòl and Alberto, Professor Ermanno and Signora Olga — and about the many others who lived at, or like me frequented, the house in Corso Ercole I d’Este, Ferrara, just before the last war broke out. But the impulse, the prompt, really to do so only occurred for me a year ago, one April Sunday in 1957.

So begins the prologue of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. The event that prompted the narrator was a visit to some Etruscan tombs and an innocent remark from a little girl about why the old tombs are considered less sad than modern tombs. This makes the narrator think about the Finzi-Continis’ tomb, built about a hundred years before but now nearly completely overgrown with weeds. A tomb that does not hold the more recent Finzi-Continis as most of them…

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