Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Rec. #243: Innocence
What: Innocence is a Florentine comedy of errors, as told by the impressive Penelope Fitzgerald, who manages to fit a villa, postwar malaise, a farm, a neurologist, English friends, an aging count, the Italian Communist party, and the aptly named Aunt Mad into just over 200 pages.
Comparable to: In her ability to deftly bind up a lot of story into a slim volume, Fitzgerald's closest match is Jeanette Winterson.
Opening lines: "Anyone can tell when they are passing the Ridolfi villa, the Ricordanza, because of the stone statues of what are known as 'the Dwarfs' on the highest part of the surrounding walls . . . Strictly speaking they are not dwarfs, but midgets, that's to say they represent adults of less than 1.3 metres, pathologically small, but quite in proportion."
"Incidentally, it's struck me recently that in a non-medical sense you understand almost nothing about women."
"I understood enough to marry and produce four children, and I can't remember noticing any particular difficulties."
"That's precisely what I mean."
You might not like it if: You've filled your quota for Florentine comedies of errors for the year, thanks.
How to get it: Buy it or borrow it. Not Kindle-able at this time.
Connections to previous Wreckage: Fitzgerald didn't write very many books, but what she did write was excellent. I've already recommended The Gate of Angels (Rec. #79) and The Blue Flower (Rec. #164).