In Italy Carola Susani is hailed as “the worthy heir of Elsa Morante”, and as one of the strongest writers of her generation. She was born in Marostica (Vicenza) in 1965. She is on the editorial staff of one of the most important Italian literary reviews, Nuovi Argomenti.
She made her literary debut in 1995, with the novel Il libro di Teresa (Teresa’s Book). In 1998, Feltrinelli published her second novel, La terra dei dinosauri (The Land of the Dinosaurs). In 2005 her short story Il viaggiatore (The Traveller) was published in a Canadian anthology: Italville. New Italian Writing (Exile Editions, Toronto). Two years later, her reportage Maisons sans plus de porte appeared in the book Last and Lost (Noir sur Blanc, Paris), and was then translated into German and Polish. She is also the author of two children’s novels and of essays about maternity and childhood. In 2007 Pecore vive (Live Sheep), a collection of short stories, was longlisted for the Strega Prize.
Susani’s Eravamo bambini abbastanza (We Were Young Enough) was published in 2012 and was awarded the Lo Straniero Prize 2012 and the Prata Prize for Fiction 2012.
Featured Reading Group Title
Eravamo bambini abbastanza (We Were Young Enough)
This is the story of a strange family: seven children from eastern Europe and Italy – led by a silent but charismatic man called The Raptor. They are on the road from northern Italy to Rome. Dirty, poorly dressed and hungry, they live on thievery and begging. Kidnapped children. And this strange Pied Piper they are following is their kidnapper.
One of the children named him ‘Raptor’ because in the child’s imagination he’s like a Velociraptor: the man’s way of standing and walking, his stooping back and the way in which he lurks all recall to the child’s mind that light-footed, gaunt and inelegant reptile.
Through the eyes of little Manuel, we follow these children whose homesickness has given way to an unusual kind of bonding: they have become a family with rules and rituals, in which conflicts and alliances harden and strong personalities emerge.
Who is the Raptor? What is his purpose? And why do these children not seem to have a desire to go home?
- We Were Young Enough is featured in our Italian Reading Group Winter 2012-2013.
- Sample from We Were Young Enough translated into English by Simon Jones (downloadable).