fiction, review

Va’ dove ti porta il cuore

Indonesian edition’s cover (source:

It is always intriguing for me to get my hands on European literary works. Reading European literature is never dull. But what makes it worthwhile for any readers to read Susanna Tamaro’s Va’ dove ti porta il cuore? It can be its mind-numbing narrative. Or its feminist message. Or its female characters. Readers who love drama may even like the sad atmosphere shrouding it. But I would personally say that the whole package of the book is what makes it worthwhile. This novel is among my first European reads, and reading it has excited me even more.

The story may have several characters in it, but the narrative is itself centered on the character of Olga. She seems to be a single character to tell the entire story. The idea of this book is to have her reveal a story through writing a diary for her granddaughter. I can tell that this novel depends so much on narrative rather than dialogues, which can be a bit boring for some. But the fact that the main character is actually writing a diary makes it just sensible. Besides, Tamaro composes her narrative nicely so I wouldn’t say it’s boring to read.

Olga, an old sick woman, is having a troubled relationship with her granddaughter. It is her granddaughter’s nature and her chosen way of life which are responsible for their difficult  communication. Aware of her health condition and coming time, Olga decides to write a special diary for her granddaughter, explaining the history of their female predecessors in family, the history of the granddaughter herself (which is not exactly what she thinks it is), and most of all, how this life is running.

Following Olga’s writing, you’d think her words are so philosophical. I can’t say that Tamaro deliberately wants to lecture the reader about philosophy of life, even though it’s what it seems on the outside. However, the feminist echo reverberating from Olga’s story caught my attention more than anything in the book. It conveys some different paths of feminism. The main character may not claim herself to be a feminist, but she is to me clearly revealing the true reality of being a woman, the women’s issues to be exact: positions, sufferings and everything. Considering the whole story, this book is solely about women. With its nice and easy language, I don’t think this book will be a dull read so anyone who doesn’t care about feminism nor gender issues won’t have to be afraid.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Va’ dove ti porta il cuore is not a lecture book, but it gave me so much to think about. Its narrative and the way it is written are wonderful. A pity it’s a little bit absurd so I couldn’t really get into the story and lose myself in it. Nevertheless, for those who love European literary works and have a little care about women’s issues, Va’ dove ti porta il cuore is not something to miss.

Rating: 3.5/5

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