This month Jon Lindsay Miles, the translator of Haroldo Conti’s Southeaster, a beautiful novel of drifters on a boat in the Tigre delta, has sent us his book tip of the month.

For those who enjoy autobiography and memoir, this account of a life in three lands—the USA, Ireland and Italy—includes revealing portraits of various family relationships and provocative reflection on questions of the education of children, on reading, and on the writing of biography amongst others. She has written a full account in War in Valle D’Orcia of life in Italy during the Second World War, but there is enough in the latter pages of Images and Shadows to open our eyes to what may lie ahead in their smaller communities if readers (particularly in Europe just now) don’t turn away from the path of nationalisms many have embarked on.

Above all, the modest beauty in her expression means Origo has written, to my overtaxed eyes, a perfect book to read in hyperbolic times.

*

Iris Origo, Images and Shadows. Autobiography (London: John Murray, 1998 [First published in 1970]).

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