Forbidden Notebook

Alba de Céspedes author Ann Goldstein translator Jhumpa Lahiri editor


Publisher:Pushkin Press

Published:2nd Mar '23

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Forbidden Notebook cover

Out running an errand, Valeria Cossati gives in to a sudden impulse - she buys a shiny black notebook. She starts keeping a diary in secret, recording her concerns about her daughter, the constant churn of the domestic routine and her fears that her husband will discover her new habit. With each entry Valeria plunges deeper into her interior life, uncovering profound dissatisfaction and restlessness. As she finds her own voice, the roles that have come to define her-as wife, as mother, as daughter-begin to break apart. Forbidden Notebook is a rediscovered jewel of Italian literature, published here in a new translation by the celebrated Ann Goldstein and with a foreword by Jhumpa Lahiri. A captivating feminist classic, it is an intimate, haunting story of domestic discontent in postwar Rome, and of one woman's awakening to her true thoughts and desires.

'One of Italy's most cosmopolitan, incendiary, insightful, and overlooked writers' - Jhumpa Lahiri

'The absorbing and abidingly resonant confession of a woman's desire to do that most elusive thing: forge a self apart from her caring for others. Forbidden Notebook can also be read as an allegory of fascism, a post-Roe cautionary tale, and corroboration of the revelatory and exhilarating but also implosive power of honest words.' - Lisa Halliday, bestselling author of Asymmetry

'While I'm writing, I confine myself to occasionally reading books that keep me company not as entertainment but as solid companions. I call them books of encouragement, like those by Alba de Cespedes' - Elena Ferrante

'A fearlessly probing and candid look at marital dynamics and generational divisions, first published in Italy in 1952... Goldstein's translation invigorates a remarkable story, one that remains intensely relevant across time, cultures, and continents' - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

'A wrenching, sardonic depiction of a woman caught in a social trap' - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

ISBN: 9781782277507

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

272 pages