Roman Author Francesca Melandri Recommends Five Favorite Books
Francesca Melandri was born in Rome in 1964. She began her career as a screenwriter, and has worked on films and television series, as well as a number of prize winning documentaries. In 2010 she published her first novel, Eva sleeps, set in the border regions of Northern Italy and Austria, a sweeping story about family, forgiveness, conflict and the search for truth. The novel, which won several literary prizes in 2010 and 2011, has been translated in German, Dutch, French and English. Her second novel, Più alto del mare, was published in 2012 and has also won several literary prizes and has been translated into most major European languages.
Thomas Mann: Buddenbrooks
The decline of three generations of Lübeck merchants as told by a very young Thomas Mann at his most sublime narrative and literary powers. This quintessential family saga sets an unreachable model for all writers whose aim is to describe a whole society and historical period through the meaningful details of personal lives
Nelson Mandela: Long walk to freedom
I read this book in my late twenties, and my life has never been the same since. I can still remember the elation I felt at getting to know this luminous, monumental man as he told his life story with simplicity, humor and emotional mastery. His autobiography proves that politics - when it means fighting for a better world, no matter the cost - can be one of the most spiritually relevant expressions of humankind.
Alice Munro: Hateship, friendship, courtship, loveship, marriage
How, how does she do it? How did this unassuming woman from Ontario acquire this monstrous knowledge of human nature, of the reasons people - any people - behave the way they do, of their pitfalls, destinies, catastrophes and resiliency? And how on earth does she manage to pack it all in a style which is so... perfect? I read and re-read all her books regularly, like a devotee sitting at the feet of an almost supernatural master trying to glean a glimpse of understanding.
Primo Levi: The truce
After the descent into living hell of "If this is a man", this is a return to life. It's Primo Levi's journey from Auschwitz back home, through European landscapes shattered by the catastrophic passage of war and teeming with lost human beings - concentration camp prisoners, soldiers, refugees, orphans, beggars. An unforgettable compendium of all that makes humankind worthy of its existence, even such a short time after its darkest hour.
Joseph Conrad: The secret sharer/Heart of darkness
These two novels, united in a single edition, were my introduction to Conrad's work and they stunned me. I was left with the longing to have a go myself at this otherworldly activity which had the power to leave me breathless and amazed: literature.
Plus: Emily Dickinson: Collected poems
It should have probably been the first title on the list, if order were to reflect relevance; but it deserves an even more extra(ordinary) place. I need Emily's quiet voice to remind me, ever so often, how the whole of reality, all deeds and all words, have a heart of stillness, emptiness and silence.