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Forbidden Notebook

Alba de Céspedes author Ann Goldstein translator Jhumpa Lahiri editor


Publisher:Pushkin Press

Published:7th Mar '24

Should be back in stock very soon

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.

'Electric... de Cespedes's novel anticipates the candid confessionals of writers such as Deborah Levy, Sheila Heti and Rachel Cusk... Formally precise, psychologically rich, and suffused in suspicion and suspense, Forbidden Notebook is an exquisite, tormented howl' - Lucy Scholes

'I don't think I've read a finer unpicking of a complex mother-daughter relationship... A damning portrait emerges of the prisons on which modern family life is built. It is devastatingly effective, a tour de force' - Sunday Times

'Reading Alba de Cespedes was, for me, like breaking into an unknown universe: social class, feelings atmosphere' - Annie Ernaux

'Incendiary: a bomb beneath the bed that has been made for her. Turning its pages, the feeling grows that all women, metaphorically speaking, keep a little black book just as Valeria does' - Rachel Cooke

'Still speaks to women's lives today... For the reader, the discoveries of the notebook emerge as discoveries of freedom. We share Valeria's pleasure and release when she manages secretly to write' - Lara Feigel

ISBN: 9781782278221

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

272 pages