Bloodlines by Marcello Fois

Bloodlines

Bloodlines by Marcello Fois

Italian Fiction

Original title -Stirpe

Translator – Silvester Mazzarella

Source – Review Copy

 

He was a blacksmith by trade; he used to live on his own.
She was a little old maid; she was all gristle and bone,
Just a crone that you might not have fancied yourself;
She was not born to attract. She was lined up for the shelf
If it were not for the fact the blacksmith loved her well,
He loved her like hell. He used to grunt and sigh, fit to die.
But from afar; for he was shy, as blacksmiths often are.

I went for an obvious choice here The blacksmith and The toffeemaker by Jake thackray  and love the comparison he was shy like blacksmiths often are , given we have a shy Sardinan Blacksmith .

When the IFFP longlist was announced I was a bit annoyed with myself I hadn’t read this one as I had loved the first book by him that Maclehose had published Memory of the abyss . It was one of those books I started and just put to one side after 30 pages last year and never got back too , not because I hadn’t like what I read, no there was shiny new ones to read .Marcello Fois is part of what in Italy is called the New Sardinian literature a group of writers that have given a new voice to the island .He has published over 20 books in Italy .

Luggi Ippolito was the first Chironi to know the history and origins of the family .He had read enough to know we all come from somewhere and he was articulate enough to be able to tell the story . His firm and steady , if not yet fully mature , voice echoed calmly through the short November days as everyone grew sleepy round the log fire .

The family origins also told in a side story to the main one .

So Bloodlines as the title maybe suggest is a story of family .But rather cleverly the English title using the term bloodlines instead of lineage .Because this is the story of a family that in a way isn’t connected by blood the Chironi family is started when Giuseppe the father a blacksmith is at the local orphanage and he sees a boy Michele and see in him what could be his son .So he adopts him and he grows up and falls in love with a woman called Michele hat he had met when younger  , but meet when older and start the family that we see through the 20th century through their eyes and there kids eyes .The story of the family that  follows Sardinia through the first and second world war .A family struggling , both with themselves and with the world around them changing  . In a world that has changed is the still a place for them in it .

Michele Angelo is solid and stout , plum as a well-fed animal . His clothes are basically light brown but see against the light , his substance almost blond  , like living expression of something as transient as fruit-growing from honeyed seed , in sharp contrast to the crow-like blackness that surrounds him .

A great example of Fois Prose and the great job of Silverstre the translator .

Epic is one word that can sum this up . An epic family saga , that remind me of Marquez in a way , but without any real magic realism .A family and how they face the world , also like Marquez this is a world disconnect from elsewhere round it Sardinia is an island so is both in Italy and not in Italy . In a way it remind me of the world my Father and Grandparents described .When they described the Irish republic they used to visit for weekend’s growing up in the 30 , 40 and 50s and the difference in the world just a few miles from their door .I feel Donegal at this time and Sardinia probably were quite similar worlds . Again I feel in love with Fois wonderfully rich prose style , in a way he is maybe a rich meal full of flavour . In regards the IFFP for me this is a shortlist book so I’ll be scoring it high in the shadow jury .

Have you read Fois ?

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. roughghosts
    Mar 19, 2015 @ 17:13:25

    Nice review Stu. I agree, this book is a treat. This was a completely new writer to me, the joy of the IFFP.

    Reply

  2. A Little Blog of Books
    Mar 19, 2015 @ 22:22:28

    This is the next book on my list – the idea of Marquez without the magical realism appeals to me. Many thanks for putting me in touch with Nicci from Fitzcarralo – I received my Kindle copy of Zone today and look forward to reading it🙂

    Reply

  3. Bellezza
    Mar 20, 2015 @ 02:10:25

    I love Italian writers, and I can’t wait to get to this one!

    Reply

  4. Lisa Hill
    Mar 20, 2015 @ 22:48:36

    I like the idea of regional writers offering a distinctive aspect of Italy, a bit like Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend trilogy all set in Naples.

    Reply

  5. Max Cairnduff
    Mar 25, 2015 @ 11:57:24

    You make a good case for it Stu, and seem more taken than I had the impression David Hebblethwaite was.

    Nicci from Fitzcarraldo?

    I’ll check out your Memories review, I’d missed that.

    Reply

    • winstonsdad
      Mar 25, 2015 @ 12:00:38

      Nicci is pr for fitzcarraldo editions among others yes both great books strangely talking Nicci she is a fan of this book we spoke about Fois earlier this year on twitter

      Reply

  6. Trackback: Bloodlines by Marcello Fois | A Little Blog of Books
  7. Trackback: Shadow IFFP shortlist | Winstonsdad's Blog

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