Small town boys

15 09 2018

The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles by Giorgio Bassani

 

Into the insular town of 1930s Ferrara, a new doctor arrives. Fadigati is hopeful and modern, and more than anything wants to fit into his new home. But his fresh, appealing appearance soon crumbles when the townsfolk discover his homosexuality, and the young man he pays to be his lover humiliates him publicly.

As anti-Semitism spreads across Italy, the Jewish narrator of the tale begins to feel pity for the ostracized doctor, as the fickle nature of a community changing under political forces becomes clear.The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles is a gripping and tragic study of how lives can be destroyed by those we consider our neighbours.

A quite outstanding book, set in the same place and time as the equally marvellous The Garden of the Finzi-Continis which I inexplicably have failed to review here previously. It’s a beautifully written and translated tale which is perfectly paced and judged. Painful and thoroughly compelling it really is a thoroughly recommended read.

 

 

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