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In a hushed, Italian town after the Second World War Elsa lives with her parents in the house where she was born. Twenty-seven and unmarried, she is of constant concern to her mother, whose status anxiety manifests itself in acute hypochondria. Elsa hopes to live a life different to the one she’s always known and when she meets Tommasino, it seems possible. Tommasino belongs to the De Francisci family, who owns the cloth factory where Elsa’s father works, and whose lives and stories Elsa has known all her life. In the course of their secret meetings, Elsa and Tommasino begin to imagine another future for themselves, free from the constraints of shared history and expectation. But all of this is threatened when their relationship is revealed.
An elegant, spare novel reminiscent of Chekhov, Voices in the Evening captures Italy after the war, and a new generation struggling against its legacy. Ginzburg’s doomed love story comes to us as though whispered between friends, and carried on an evening breeze.
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