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Natalia Ginzburg: Caro Michele

Make notes on the following topics in preparation for seminar discussions:

• Comment on the choices of genre (epistolary novel), language and style
• What is the role of Michele? What effect is created through his absence from the events of the narrative? Look at the style of Michele’s letters.
• What role does Adriana play in the novel? Look at the style of her letters compared to those of the other characters.
• What is the significance of certain objects (the house, the scarf, the washing)
• Comment on the gender roles portrayed in the novel? (consider the family structure, the role that male and female figures play in the family, how the male figures respond to fatherhood)
• How are sadness, loss, and alienation expressed through the narrative?
• How are family relationships, communication and emotion represented? (consider the exchange of letters, the absence of the telephone)
• Comment on the generation gap represented in the novel. What seem to be the values of youth and the values of the older generation (look at Mara)
• How does the novel deal indirectly with social and political events of the 1970s?