In short: dandelions; good reasons to die; Notes on bereavement – comments | Books
Fitzcarraldo Publishing, £12.99, pp288
This eloquent combination of family history and memoir, underpinned by reflections on migration, homesickness and fractured identities, begins with Lenarduzzi sitting at the kitchen table of her elderly Nonna in rural Italy, asking for stories . Nonna’s life takes us to Manchester and Sheffield in the mid-twentieth century, and to the “many Italys” – some unpleasant – that exist in her clan and in the national consciousness. Lenarduzzi, “an archivist of family lore,” allows herself to disappear into a number of fascinating dead ends during this scholarly and wise voyage of discovery.
Morgan Audic (translated by Sam Taylor)
Mountain Leopard, £18.99, pp352
Set in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and filled with various lower-level Ukrainian and Russian conflicts, Sam Taylor’s translation of French writer Audic’s 2019 thriller is clearly timely. The author also knows how to handle a good manhunt – a mutilated body is found near the infamous power station and it’s up to a dying Moscow policeman to try to find (and execute) the man. killer. The geopolitical settings that might have given the book real intrigue lack nuance, but it’s still a suspenseful and atmospheric ride.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
4th power, £10, pp96 (paperback)
How to give meaning to the death of a relative? While Adichie grasps the only thing she understands, language, immediately after her father’s death, she likens the feeling to a “vicious uprooting…a kind of cruel upbringing.” Initially, in this remarkable diary of his bereavement, Adichie cannot bring himself to use the past to describe his father. That changes in the final pages, but in between the author paints a picture of a brilliant, graceful man and her adoration for him. Angry, moving and adorable.