una

The latest addition to my website is Paola Capriolo‘s Una di loro [One of Them]. This is another excellent novel from Capriolo, sadly not translated into English. The unnamed narrator has gone to stay in an idyllic Alpine village, in order to wrote his book on aesthetic theory. While initially, everything meets with his expectations, when out walking he starts noticing strange people who are clearly very poor and who seem different form the locals. He also meets his chambermaid, who is called Iasmina but clearly foreign and not very talkative. However, he watches her every evening as she leaves and becomes somewhat obsessed with her. One day, out on a long walk, he is surprised to find a sign to the Grand Hôtel d’Europe, a hotel of whose existence he was unaware. He follows the signs and sees a group of the poor people near a bridge, including a woman playing with children who is completely naked. The woman is Iasmina. He is so perturbed that he heads back to his hotel. However, he visits the Grand Hôtel d’Europe another day and tries to find out who the poor are, who Iasmina is and what the hotel is. Capriolo tells her story very well, undoubtedly influenced by her knowledge of the German novel.