fiction, review

Ascolta la mia voce

Indonesian edition’s cover

Ascolta la mia voce comes along to bring to light Marta’s side of story, Olga’s granddaughter in Susanna Tamaro’s previous novel, Va’ dove ti porta il cuore. This philosophical drama still carries the subject of women and family issues. Tamaro is steadfastly consistent in the way of her storytelling and portraying of characters. Reading this so-called sequel of Va’ dove ti porta il cuore has been an exceptional experience to me. Not only does it complete the previous story, but it also completes my learning of humanity.

Upon the death of her grandmother Olga, Marta, who for a good reason best known to herself hates Olga so much, is sunk deeply in thought of her mother, Ilaria. Topped with nagging curiosity, Marta sets to find out about the history of her family. Realizing that Olga never tells her much about her parents, Marta tries to track anything related to her mother Ilaria, and the father she never knows. She finally gets her hand on Ilaria’s memorabilia and letters and diary. After reading them, Marta comes to know her father, Massimo Ancoda, who has apparently abandoned her from the very start of her life. Having met Massimo afterward only brings home to her the fact that he is a selfish man and afraid of shouldering responsibility.

Knowing her father never seems to care enough about her, Marta then decides to track the path of her family to her grandmother’s cousin, Gionata, in Israel. Their conversation results in Marta getting some revelation and enlightenment of life and understanding what life is for others. Everything seems so sobering and convenient there in Israel when the news of her father’s death reaches her, so she goes back to Italy to see him for the last time. At the end of the story, she finds Olga’s diary (written as the story of Va’ dove ti porta il cuore), and reads it.

Here, Tamaro elaborates expansively the character of Marta, the distant, untouchable granddaughter in Va’ dove ti porta il cuore. Even better, through its plot and narrative, Tamaro seems to give Marta more room to show her feelings and thoughts, more than what she does to Olga. Tamaro creates Marta as a hateful woman, with complicated feelings and mysterious past. And then she slowly puts Marta through difficult and unbelievable revelations, showing her the reality of life and of being a woman. Unlike what she does before, Tamaro doesn’t make Marta a single character to tell the entire story, with a few additional characters to help the narrative building it. However, this way the reader can still see Marta more closely and comprehend her character.

Like its previous number, Ascolta la mia voce relies on its narrative more than dialogues, despite the facts that it has more characters in it. This may become its only, yet certainly unsettling, weakness. Though beautifully written, it doesn’t mean that putting up the whole story in an unpunctuated narrative, without any good ground for it (as it is applied in Va’ dove ti porta il cuore), is excusable. Be that as it may, I would say that this book has a wider thought on women’s issues and life. Its plot brings the reader to digging little by little the philosophy of life, at least in the author’s point of view. It is very deep and inspiring, putting aside the question whether or not it is acceptable to the reader.

In conclusion, Ascolta la mia voce is still a worth-reading book for its nice story and thoughtful philosophy, although some readers may not excuse its narrative and more complicated language. I recommend this book to those who are really interested in women’s issues and the discovery of what life has for us.

Rating: 3.5/5

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