Reviews for Other Language : Stories


Booklist Reviews 2014 March #2
*Starred Review* In her first book of short stories, following three novels, Marciano (The End of Manners, 2008) portrays women confronted by radical change or an old flame, most often while far from home. Clothes take on immense psychological power, and islands and remote villages become places of abrupt metamorphosis. In The Presence of Men, newly divorced Lara moves to an ancient Italian village, inadvertently causing havoc in the settled life of a gifted seamstress when Lara's Hollywood brother arrives for a visit along with a tabloid-famous American movie star. A stretched-thin marriage finally unravels during a seductive sojourn in India. A struggling documentary filmmaker acquires an exceptionally beautiful, even magical dress. In the title story, newly motherless, young Emma of Rome is brought to a Greek island for the summer, where her coming-of-age is precipitously accelerated by the company of two alluring English boys. In each transfixing, emotionally charged, sexy, piquantly funny, and perfectly rendered story, Marciano makes you feel the heat of the sun, the shiver of shadow, and the shock of unforeseen lust and loss. As she dramatizes with spellbinding command the revelations of displacement, the aphrodisiac power of fame, and the slipperiness of love and authenticity, you can't bear to finish Marciano's superlative stories, even though you can't wait to find out what happens. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2014 February #2
Nine closely observed stories of growing up, dislocation and family relationships. The first story in the collection gives the volume its title and presents a lovely reminiscence of childhood and adolescence, with all its fumbling awkwardness. Emma, Luca and Monica have recently lost their mother, and their father takes them to a Greek village for summer vacation and an opportunity to at least temporarily put aside their grief. There, they meet Nadia, a Greek teenager with an almost adultlike self-possession, as well as Jack and David, two adolescents from Britain. Over several summers as they all grow up, Emma becomes intrigued by David's uninhibited mother and has her first sexual experience with David. The story ends with Emma bumping into Jack years later in Rome and finding out David's tragic end. "Chanel," the following story, introduces us to Caterina, a documentary filmmaker, and her gay friend Pascal, who persuades Caterina to buy an expensive Chanel dress, in part since she's always lived a life in which self-indulgence is seen as a catalyst for guilt. Years later, she still has the dress—and still hasn't worn it—but learns a deeper lesson about its true worth. "Big Island, Small Island" takes us to sub-Saharan Africa, where Stella, a scientist with an interest in biodiversity, meets Andrea, her expat ex-lover, and discovers how far apart they've grown. In "An Indian Soirée," a couple's marriage unravels in the space of a single day. And so it goes—each of Marciano's stories is a gem, with fully realized characters wistfully and beautifully captured through dialogue that is both pensive and poignant. Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 November #1

Marciano, a novelist and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, offers women on the brink in wide-ranging settings, from Venice during film festival season to a classical dance community in India. Since Marciano is coming from Rome, the five-city tour really says something.

[Page 67]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 December #2

Generations of Italians fled the poverty of their native country, never to return. But in this century, Italians leaving Italy are highly mobile citizens of the globalized world who, nonetheless, remain recognizably Italian. It's these Italians who populate Marciano's (Rules of the Wind) stories. In "Big Island, Small Island," Stella flies to a tiny African island to see an old boyfriend, who turns out to have gone native; in "An Indian Soiree," a vacationing couple realizes how easily a marriage can dissolve; in "The Italian System," a Italian woman who loves New York City because it has "no witnesses, no memories" ends up writing a book about Italian ways; and in the title story, a teenager's crush on an English boy changes her life. Even when the heroine stays in Italy, as in the excellent "The Presence of Men," she's still out of place, as a northerner in Italy's deep south. The one story with no ties to Italy, "The Club," is the weakest in an otherwise strong collection. Marciano's women (and sometimes her men) don't necessarily want what they have--they make choices and make do; they travel, get divorced, adapt. The effect is both luxurious and down to earth, a pleasurable sojourn with characters Marciano depicts as simultaneously likable and irritating, bold and retiring, types and individuals--not unlike those reading about them. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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