Author(s): Giorgio Bassani
This is a haunting, elegiac novel which captures the mood and atmosphere of Italy (and in particular Ferrara) in the last summers of the thirties, focusing on an aristocratic Jewish family moving imperceptibly towards its doom. Vittorio De Sica turned the book into a film in 1970, winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1974.
"Giorgio Bassani is one of the great witnesses of this century, and one of its great artists." -"The Guardian"
"Curiously haunting and poetic . . . Like Proust, a novelist to whom he is inevitably compared, Bassani is a specialist in decadence and nostalgia." -"Christian Science Monitor"
"Bassani looms large in the Italian literary scene . . . ["The Garden of the Finzi-Continis"] is an honest book, and tells with a kind of probing tenderness a true story of sensitive and vulnerable youth in a somber decade." -"Saturday Review"
""The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" is first and foremost a love story and on quite a different level from anything else Bassani wrote . . . Beneath every other theme and concern, and whether or not prompted by the political situation, the question [the novel] quite explicitly ask[s] is:
what does it mean to have lived?" -from the new Introduction by Tim Parks
Giorgio Bassani was born in 1916. From 1938 onwards he became involved in various anti-fascist activities for which he was imprisoned in 1943. His works include The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles, The Heron, Behind the Door and Five Stories of Ferrara, which won the Strega Prize. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis was awarded the Viareggio Prize in 1962.