Lara moved to a little undiscovered village in southern Italy to find a respite from her newly divorced life in Rome. She works hard to find approval and eventually befriends an elderly, local seamstress, Mina. But, when her brother comes to visit, he brings along an uproarious film star who threatens to disrupt her newly quaint, yet happy, existence.
From brilliant young Italian screenwriter Francesca Marciano, this is a meticulous, evocative portrait of a woman who seeks and learns to find peace and reestablish her sense of home away from the damaging intrusions of men. Invoking the sights, sounds, and intimacy of southern Italy, “The Presence of Men” is selected from The Other Language, the extraordinary debut collection from one of Italy’s finest new female writers.
Praise for Francesca Marciano and The Other Language:
“This is an astonishing collection. . . . A vision of geography as it grounds us, as it shatters us, as it transforms the soul.” —Jhumpa Lahiri
“Magical, fleet-footed stories [that] leap around the globe. . . . Captivating exemplars of storytelling.” —The New York Times
“Captivating. . . . With a nod to Paul Bowles, Marciano evokes the freedom found in not belonging.” —Vogue
“Exquisite. . . . Transporting. . . . The book transcends physical travel, celebrating the power of encountering new cultures, personalities and truths, and ultimately discovering different versions of ourselves.” —People
“Seductive. . . . Cosmopolitan. . . . In Marciano’s nuanced emotional universe, a foreigner is likely to consider herself an outsider, no matter how long she’s lived elsewhere—especially if she still dreams in her mother tongue.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“You hold in your hands 304 pages of dynamite. These stories are worldly, political, and funny to boot. I’ve loved Marciano’s writing since her first novel, Rules of the Wild—but I am completely hot for The Other Language.” —Gary Shteyngart