Read Eva Sleeps by Francesca Melandri Katherine Gregor Online


A bestselling novel in Italy, soon to be a motion picture directed by Edoardo Winspeare, and Elle magazine's book of the year, 'Eva Sleeps' is a sweeping modern story about family, forgiveness, and conflict. At its heart is the story of a woman searching for the truth about her origins. This literary page-turner will delight fans of Elena Ferrante. Out of the struggles andA bestselling novel in Italy, soon to be a motion picture directed by Edoardo Winspeare, and Elle magazine's book of the year, 'Eva Sleeps' is a sweeping modern story about family, forgiveness, and conflict. At its heart is the story of a woman searching for the truth about her origins. This literary page-turner will delight fans of Elena Ferrante. Out of the struggles and conflicts in the border regions of Northern Italy and Austria and the rich history that has resulted from this meeting of cultures, comes a family story that embodies the history of nations. Eva, a forty-year-old public relations professional living in Northern Italy, recieves an unexpected message from Southern Italy. Vito, a man she briefly knew as a child as a friend of her mother's, is very ill and would like to see her one last time. He is a retired police officer who was stationed in the north during the late-sixties, a period rife with tension, protest, and violence. These troubles, however, did not stop a young hapless policeman from falling in love with the "wrong" woman, a girl named Gerda from Austrian Tyrol, an inventive and accomplished cook, a single mother with a rich family history of her own, a northerner, the sister of a terrorist, and Gerda's mother. Vito's affair with Gerda was a passionate one, but what was the nature of their love? And if he loved her so passionately why did he return to Calabria? What scars did those years leave on Vito, and on Gerda? It's time for Eva to find out....

Title : Eva Sleeps
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781609453121
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Eva Sleeps Reviews

  • David
    2019-04-08 08:14

    Ever been taken along for a ride from one end of Italy to the other? And while you were on this ride, your companion tells you this wild story that involves lovers, family secrets, terrorists, politics and ethnic divisions? And as the train nears its destination, you are so swept up with the story that you want to hear it faster, more of it, explain me this; explain me that. And the story involves Germans living in a region of Italy that fought for its independence. And you say, go on, I never heard of this! and you are in utter disbelief but slowly you believe it. All of this is packed into this book. Just before Christmas I heard a podcast interview with Francesca Melandri, an Italian author talking about her first book translated into English. This love story tells the recent history of South Tyrol (Alto Adige in Italian; Südtirol in German). An area consisting of mainly Austrian Germans that was given to Italy after WWI and was brokered by the Allies. The fascist Italians of the 1920s had a simple idea to blend them into the Italian state - ban German in schools, work, life. This brought about two reactions: racism and terrorism. Some were relocated to the south; those who remained fought in various ways. One German family invested in the first ski industry and grew fabulously rich. Silvius Magnago tried the political method. The Huber family of his book took on many hardships. As their story unfolds, Francesca Melandri creates two very strong characters, Eva and her mother Gerda. This book is a romance but adding the political issues kept my interest throughout. I am old enough to remember Aldo Moro and the terrorist period of the 70s to 90s. Sadly, I didn't know about the South Tyrolean fight but I recalled so many other "people's" who wanted autonomy during this time, from Northern Ireland, Basques, Catalans, the former Yugoslavia and even in my own country, the Québécois (FLQ) just to name a few. This is a book about love and family. Melandri makes no commentary about the politics but shows how people's lives can be changed in a flash. It was a fast, enlightening and enjoyable read.

    2019-03-28 06:10

    "EVA SLEEPS" is both a generational saga largely centered around the lives of a mother (Gerda Huber) and daughter (Eva Huber), as well as a 20th century story about the Tyrol Region of Northern Italy (known by its German speakers as 'Trentino-Südtirol' and officially by Italians as 'Alto Adige'), which is a unique part of the country by virtue of its decidedly Germanic culture, language, and ethos. I enjoyed very much learning about Alto Adige, which prior to 1919 (when it was incorporated into Italy) had been a part of the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire. Indeed, the history of the long, protracted struggle of the people in Alto Adige/Trentino-Südtirol to have their culture respected by Rome and to be accorded special status within Italy itself is cleverly superimposed by the author Francesca Melandri against the lives of the Huber family, beginning with Gerda's father, Hermann, a rather stern, austere character. It was very fascinating for me to learn all these things. And besides, as someone who studied German in college, I liked being reacquainted with die deutsche Sprache, too. "EVA SLEEPS" also takes the reader into the life of Eva Huber, who, as a successful businesswoman in her 30s in the late 1990s embarks on a long train ride from Rome to Reggio Calabria on the tip of the Italian boot to reconnect with a part of her past. It offers the reader much more than meets the eye. On the whole, "EVA SLEEPS" was a novel that put me on a journey that enthralled and fascinated me. One of the most striking aspects about it was the following reflections that Melandri made that held for me a special resonance:"There is the time that flows around us, toward us, and through us, time that conditions us and shapes us, the memory we cultivate or shake off --- our History. Then, there is a sequence of places in which we live, between which we travel, where we are physically, places made of roads and buildings but also trees, horizons, temperatures, levels of atmospheric pressure, the major or minor speed with which the water of a river flows, altitude --- our Geography."These two trajectories, linked partly by fate and partly by free will, meet every instant and in every place at a spot, like in a Cartesian graphic cosmos, and the sequence of these spots forms a line, a curve and sometimes, if we're lucky, even a pattern which, if it's not harmonious, then at least it's one you can make out."This is the shape of our lives."

  • Noce
    2019-03-24 02:26

    Eva dorme, ma chi dorme si sa, non piglia pesci.Se c'è una cosa che mi irrita è vedere buone idee buttate al vento. "Eva dorme" appartiene a questa categoria.Stile corretto, saga familiare che abbraccia luoghi, eventi storici e sentimenti, descrizioni opportune, nessun disorientamento creato da parentesi temporali poco chiare. Anzi, a dirla tutta, il maggior pregio del libro, è il contesto storico che fa da sfondo alla storia, l'annosa e scomoda storia del Sudtirolo, di cui al di fuori dell'Alto Adige, pochi ne sanno qualcosa. Il tutto spiegato con dovizia di particolari non romanzati.Eppure, Eva non si sveglia e non riesce a decollare.. Piatto.A tal proposito c'è una frase del libro stesso che spiega benissimo quello che voglio dire. È uno stralcio che riguarda l'esigenza di saper scegliere la carne, prima di buttarsi a sperimentare qualsiasi ricetta la riguardi.«Il taglio è tutto. Nessuna cottura a puntino, nessuna aggiunta di aromi, nessuna farcia, nessuna marinatura, rosolatura, salatura può salvare un pezzo di carne tagliato male. La padella, la teglia, la casseruola dove essa verrà cucinata è come il letto dove si consuma l'amplesso nuziale tra la carne e il suo cuoco; ma la casa, lì dove la coppia vive insieme più o meno felice, è il tagliere dove egli dà la sua forma. Se tagliata male, di fretta, con incuria, la carne sarà come una moglie maltrattata di giorno: per quanto poi nel talamo di notte, il marito la possa blandire, lei resterà secca, inerte, avvilita. Quando la si prende dal verso giusto, invece, la carne è come un'amante appagata, si fa cedevole e tenera, offre i suoi succhi.»In quest'ordine di idee, si può dire che la Melandri ha preso una storia con un buon taglio, diciamo che ha preso lo "scamone", e invece che farne un brasato, l'ha utilizzato per farci delle cotolette alla milanese. Carne sprecata.Il risultato del libro, è per chi ha dimestichezza coi cartoni animati degli anni 80 un misto tra "Anna dai capelli rossi", "Sara, lovely Sara" e "Belle e Sebastien" in versione femminile.Un vero peccato.

  • Claire McAlpine
    2019-04-01 04:13

    Eva Sleeps is a thought-provoking novel that takes the reader on multiple journeys, as the narrative slowly unravels the mystery that connects Eva, her mother Gerda and Vito.“Where’s Eva anyway?”“Eva is sleeping.”The brown parcel travelled backward along the road it had taken to arrive at that spot: two thousand, seven hundred and ninety-four kilometres in total,there and back.Eva Sleeps is a reference from Paradise Lost and a quote in the book that is repeated both in the prologue (above) and at the end of the novel, referring to the delivery of a package that arrives from the postal worker for Eva, one that her mother rejects, saying it is unwanted. It is an indirect introduction to the three main characters, introducing a connection that will be alluded through throughout and revealed by the end after we too have travelled that same journey the package takes.“Let Eve (for I have drench’d her eyes, Here sleep below, while thou to foresight wak’st.”John Milton, Paradise Lost, book XIWe meet Eva as she is met at Munich airport by Carlo, he will drive her the three-hour journey across two borders to her home in Sudtirol/Alto Adige in a German-speaking part of northern Italy. It is the beginning of the Easter holiday and the beginning of a longer journey she will make when she receives the call from Vito telling her he doesn’t have long to live and that he’d like to see her again.Eva’s chapters are titled Kilometre 0, Kilometres 0-35, up to Kilometre 1397 ending with Kilometre 0, Today. These chapters contain her thoughts and observations as she makes the 1400km journey towards the dying Vito in Sicily.The interposing chapters are Gerda’s story and they are labelled by the years within which her story is narrated, beginning in 1919, a year in which:“…the peace treaty was being signed in Saint-Germain, with which the victorious powers of the Great War – France, especially – wishing to punish the dying Austrian Empire, assigned South Tyrol to Italy. Italy was very surprised. There had always been talk of liberating Trento and Trieste, but never Bolzano – let alone Bozen. It was perfectly logical. South Tyrolean’s were German people, perfectly at ease in the Austro-Hungarian empire, and didn’t need anyone to liberate them. Even so, after a war that had certainly not been won on the battlefield, Italy ended up with that stretch of the Alps as their unexpected booty.”It was also the year her father inherited the family home after the death of his parents. The fate of the family would forever be affected by that political decision, for all those native to the area, who overnight were ruled in a language and culture foreign to their ways, making them like strangers in their own country, as people from the poorer southern parts of Italy were sent to live among them, in an effort to try to make these tall, blond people more Italian.Gerda’s family is poor and as soon as she is old enough she is sent out to work, she works in the kitchen of a large hotel and alongside her striking beauty, develops a talent for creating delectable local dishes, twin characteristics that will lift her out of poverty and give her a measure of independence, much required after her father disowned her upon the arrival of Eva. She finds a way to continue working without losing her daughter.Alongside the enthralling life of Gerda, who is the most well-rounded and well-known of the characters we follow, we are exposed to the context of the freedom fights of Alto Adige, those who protested against the cultural white-washing, labelled terrorists for their protests when they turn violent.“Until a few years ago, when you said you were a German speaker from Alto Adige, they thought you were a terrorist. At the very least they’d ask: but why do you people hate Italians so much?Then things changed. In the weekly supplement of the newspaper, a few months ago, the front cover was devoted to separatist ethnic movements in Europe. It mentioned:Corsica, Slovakia, Scotland, Catalonia, the Basque country, Kosovo, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and the Po Valley.The Po Valley!No sign of Alto Adige.Eva Sleeps is a provocative novel of journeys, of connections and contradictions across cultures, of love in its many forms, of struggles and conflicts, identity and how we are connected to place.Told in a compelling narrative while backgrounding the fascinating and little known history of this part of northern Italy, it does what the historical novels often do best, increase our historical knowledge, while highlighting the ricochet effects political decisions can have on humanity, on innocent civilians, making us understand why the oppression that results turn some towards violence and others to seek love, as ways to dull the pain.The novel is being made into a film.

  • Frabe
    2019-04-09 07:23

    In “Eva dorme”, suo primo romanzo, Francesca Melandri mette insieme la storia toccante, tra sofferenze e amore, di due donne, madre e figlia, e la Storia della loro terra, l’Alto Adige/Südtirol, nella fase assai critica degli anni ’50-’60. In particolare, quelli tra il 1957 e il 1969 furono lassù anni di fuoco, con una sequela di atti violenti di matrice sudtirolese e di risposte forti degli apparati dello stato: fu allora la diplomazia di persone sagge e lungimiranti, come Silvius Magnago e Aldo Moro, a gettare le basi per la risoluzione delle tensioni più aspre e per la successiva convivenza pacifica delle diverse etnie.Ecco, la Melandri racconta bene le due storie, la privata e la pubblica, con cura e delicatezza, e il risultato è un gran bel romanzo popolare: un’opera la cui lettura, pure se “facile”, è al contempo utile per comprendere, coinvolgente e piacevole, dunque appagante.

  • Ffiamma
    2019-04-05 03:12

    come partire da un tema interessante (il terrorismo in alto adige) e appiattire il tutto in una storia trita e melensa in cui i personaggi sono poco più che macchiette e la superficialità impera. peccato.

  • Carlo
    2019-03-24 07:57

    Può darsi che ciò che sto per scrivere sia condizionato, in qualche modo dalla passione per la montagna e l’Alto Adige (io lo guardo da sotto…), però è difficile negare che questo sia un esordio di ottimo livello. La storia della famiglia Huber, e del piccolo mondo che le sta attorno, si intreccia con il difficile Novecento del Sud Tirolo, iniziato sotto il governo imperial-regio, proseguito con i decenni dell’italianizzazione forzata e concluso nell’impensabile – fino a pochi decenni prima - abbondanza regalata dall’autonomia e dal turismo. Le donne sono al centro della narrazione e più di tutte Gerda, volitiva e bellissima (forse un po’ troppo per essere vera) ragazza-madre che riesce ad uscire dal guscio della società chiusa nel maso e a raggiungere un’indipendenza moderna, anche se sfortunata dal punto di vista dell’amore. A tirare le fila del tutto è sua figlia, la Eva del titolo, che alterna al filone principale i capitoli del suo viaggio attraverso l’Italia per andare fino in Sicilia a incontrare l’unico uomo che abbia mai chiamato papà, così da riuscire a chiudere il cerchio di sentimenti rimasti in sospeso. Malgrado la parte ‘storica’ non lasci mai a desiderare (ma quanto pessimi sono stati gli Italiani in provincia di Bolzano, e non solo sotto il fascismo?) ad affascinare sono soprattutto i rapporti interpersonali, descritti con cura e attenzione grazie a una lingua che restituisce una partecipazione emotiva in cui il lettore viene sempre più coinvolto. In poche parole: un gran bel libro.

  • Francesca
    2019-04-17 04:00

    " Voleva solo essere se stesso lì dov'era nato e poter amare chi amava. Voleva l'unica cosa impossibile."" - L'hai ricevuto adesso.- - Ma adesso è tardi.- dico - Non è tardi. E' solo dopo."Eva dorme è principalmente un romanzo storico. La storia che racconta con estrema precisione e in modo molto ampio è quella che credo pochissimi italiani conoscano bene; quella della "parte tedesca" dell'Italia, il Trentino Alto Adige. Una storia antica e cruenta, colma di stragi, terrorismo, persecuzioni, ma che incredibilmente si studia poco o niente sui banchi di scuola.Le storie di vita al centro del romanzo sono quelle di Gerda, la madre della voce narrante Eva, e della sua famiglia, e copre un arco di tempo che va dai primi del Novecento ai giorni nostri. Storie di vite segnate, dure, a volte assurde, sovrastate dalle gelide montagne che imcombono su tutto.Il viaggio che percorre Eva per raggiungere quello che avrebbe potuto essere suo padre, un viaggio in treno lungo tutto lo stivale, la riporta indietro nel tempo e le svela perchè tante cose sarebbero potute succedere ma non sono successe. E forse è andata bene così.Una storia che vale la pena leggere, una scrittura molto interessante e dei momenti finali di una tenerezza struggente che valgono l'intero libro.

  • Antonella
    2019-04-18 03:02

    3 stelle e mezzo...Mi era stato suggerito di leggere questo libro perché degno compagno di "Eredità" di Lilli Gruber per le tematiche e il periodo storico trattati.Devo dire che tra i due c'è un abisso."Eva dorme" è sicuramente un bel libro che parla di amore, amicizia, differenze e difficoltà, ma il quadro storico è incompleto e a tratti quasi grottesco a causa di alcuni luoghi comuni sui sudtirolesi che in più di un'occasione vengono citati e rimarcati.Perciò, come storia e personaggi, ho trovato questo libro molto piacevole (nonostante l'editor scarso), ma in quanto a contestualizzazione delle storia stessa, forse si doveva lavorare un pochino di più.Resta comunque una piacevole lettura. Ma se lo scopo del lettore è quello di farsi un'idea sul periodo storico e sulla cosiddetta "questione altoatesina", il libro della Gruber è migliore.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-11 00:23

    Europa Editions has a new English translation of this book. I read it on vacation. It is a delight and I strongly recommend it.

  • rebellyell666
    2019-04-18 03:19

    Inhalt:Francesca Melandri begibt sich mittels ihrer Protagonistin Eva auf die Reise in die Vergangenheit sowie die Gegenwart ebenjener jungen Frau. Eva bekommt eines Tages um Ostern herum einen Anruf ihres „beinahe-Vaters“ Vito, der sie im Sterben zu sich ruft. So zählt Eva die Kilometer, während der Leser in die Geschichte der Großeltern sowie der Mutter Evas erfährt.Schreib-/Erzählstil:Francesca Melandri ist vieles gut gelungen. Zum einen verstrickt sie sich nicht in heimatfilmischen Schmonzetten, sondern bewahrt Objektivität und befragt jede Seite zu einer bestimmten politischen Meinung im Romanstil. Dabei bleiben die Charaktere keineswegs auf der Strecke: Verschiedene Generationen kämpfen mit unterschiedlichen Vorurteilen in ihren jeweiligen Situationen, die das Leben ihnen zukommen lässt. Hier spricht vor allen Dingen viel für Melandri, als dass manche Momente, die nur ein paar Zeilen inne haben, eine ganze Gefühlswelt beschreiben.Meine Meinung:Anfangs fragte ich mich wirklich nur zwei Dinge: Komme ich in diese Geschichte hinein und was bedeutet km-?! Das erstere war eher geklärt als Letzteres: Ja, ich war irgendwann richtig gefesselt von der chronologisch gut erzählten und historisch noch besser aufgearbeiteten Geschichte und das erstere erklärte sich in Evas Reise, die sie per Kilometerzahl zurück legte.Die politischen Erklärungen schlugen manchmal etwas über mein Verständnis hinaus, öffneten mir aber das zwiespältige Verhältnis in Italien und die Verhältnisse zwischen den einzelnen Völkern und Landabschnitten, die sich hier herum und drinnen ansiedeln. Hier wäre es sicher interessant, ein einfaches Begleitwerk zu lesen, dass einem noch mehr Hintergrundwissen erklärt.Fazit:Letztens saß ich abends mit meiner Mutter zusammen, die mir ausführlich unsere halbe Familiengeschichte erzählen konnte. Am liebsten hätte ich alles mitgeschrieben. Melandri hat dies bereits – zwar fiktiv – getan und es wirkt wunderbar echt!

  • Maura Malfatto Elia
    2019-03-21 07:09

    "Eva Sleeps" by Francesca Melandri and beautifully translated by Katherine Gregor, is a wonderful book about strong women, reconciliations. With an unusual setting (the South Tyrol) and time (it spans from 1919 until today), the true historical events remain in the background of a family saga narrated by Eva, who tries to come to terms with her mother Gerda, the real protagonist of the story. Many layers compose the cleverly orchestrated structure, but no thread is lost in the narration. I particularly enjoyed the parts describing the South Tyrolean cuisine, with mouth-watering dishes and flavours, and the lovely representation of Vito, a Carabiniere that will last in my memory, like in Gerda's one.Book strongly recommended with a hot cup of coffee ( or tea) and a blanket to savour a real alpine zest!

  • Reinhilde
    2019-04-05 08:27

    An informative book, would be able to pass a history exam now :-) The title is from Paradise Lost (as we learn when it gets quoted for appr. the fourth time, this time by Eva's husband), and it's reserved for the literary layer of the book. Some interesting variants of the quotation, adapted to the narrative of Eva's life, and that of her mother Gerda. Despite the internal and external (terrorist bombings) drama in their "biography" (fictional characters), Francesca Melandri keeps these parts brief. Too brief for my taste, in several cases. But after she has established the historical facts, there just may not be room to tell the story again, this time from Eva's perspective.

  • Tan Clare
    2019-03-24 02:02

    "And now I'm hugging my mom because nothing and nobody can make up for what we have lost, neither those guilty of these losses, nor those who, directly or indirectly, were their origin or cause. In the end, when all the calculations have been done and it's clear who has taken what way from whom and why, and credits and debits and the whole double entry of faults and resentments is in order and precise, the only thing that counts is this: that we can still hug each other without wasting a single instant of the extraordinary luck of still being alive."pg 365"There is the time that flows around us, towards us and through us, time that conditions us and shapes us, the memory we cultivate or shake off- our History. Then, there is a sequence of places in which we live, between which we travel, where we are physically, places made of roads and buildings but also trees, horizons, temperatures, levels of atmospheric pressure, the major or minor speed with which the water of a river flows, altitude- our Geography.These two trajectories, linked partly by fate and partly by free will, meet every instant and in every place at a spot, like in a Cartesian graphic cosmos, and the sequence of these spots form a line, a curve and sometimes, if we're lucky, even a pattern which, if it's not harmonious, then at least it's one you can make out.This is the shape of our lives."pg 367A novel set against the historical backdrop of Italy after WWII till the early 1980s, giving us insight to the little known political strife in South Tyrol, effortlessly weaving the epic big story of a country, with the smaller relationship stories of a family.

  • Karen
    2019-04-10 03:05

    I gave up on this book but would try again if a better translation were released. The sentences were slow, overflowing with adverbs and in passive voice.

  • Melissa McGuire
    2019-03-24 07:10

    I could not get into this book at all. I understand that it was translated from Italian but there was still some Italian words in there and I found the story took forever to be told

  • Tripfiction
    2019-04-15 08:10

    Epic novel set in the Alto Adige/South TyrolI have been on a couple of summer walking holidays in Alto Adige / The South Tyrol. I have driven over the Brenner pass, admired the amazing scenery and I have enjoyed the brilliant food. I have found it a little quaint that part of Italy should speak German – even if so close to the Austrian border, but I have (mea culpa) never looked at the recent history of the area until I picked up Eva Sleeps. The joys of TripFiction!The South Tyrol was ceded to Italy (and became Alto Adige) as part of the Treaty of Saint-Germain, as the First World War ended and the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed. Under the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini, the German speaking population was subject to considerable harassment and all references to the old Tyrol were banned. In 1938 Hitler and Mussolini decreed that the German speaking population would either be transferred to Germany proper or dispersed throughout Italy. Only the outbreak of the Second World War stopped this actually being put into effect. Once Italy surrendered, Germany annexed the area and made it part of the Third Reich. Then, after the war, in 1946 Italy and Austria signed an agreement granting the region considerable autonomy within Italy – and again permitting the speaking and learning of the German language. However the implementation ran into considerable difficulties, and the issue was taken to the UN amid civic unrest and considerable violence in the 50s and 60s. Only in 1971 did the Italian and Austrian governments agree to a much broader based autonomy with a clause stating that Italy would not interfere in South Tyrol’s internal affairs. Then, perhaps a little oddly, the Schengen Agreement of 1985 gave both the Austrian government and the South Tyroleans what they actually wanted – the ability to cross the border with no form of control! The Tyrol was again one – even if part of it remained in Italy.But I digress from my review of Eva Sleeps…Eva’s mother, Gerda, was born to a poor family in the South Tyrol in the 50s. As a teenager, she was sent to work as a kitchen assistant in an hotel. She became pregnant (nothing to do with her employment, but everything to do with the son of a well-to-do villager). She was thrown out of her family home, and gave birth in a convent. That is where Eva came into the world. The hotel chef, who had taken her under his wing, took her back and – to the amazement of some – trained her up to become assistant chef. Apart from two short periods a year (between the summer and winter seasons), Eva lived with relatives and waited for her mother to return. Meanwhile Gerda’s brother, Peter, became a saboteur / freedom fighter (depending on your point of view) – and eventually blew himself up in an accident. The village and the family were persecuted by the fascist Italian army – times were hard. Several died. Gerda eventually fell in love with Vito, a carabiniere stationed locally, but from the South of Italy – he was the love of her life. His mother, though, (to whom he was very close) could not tolerate the thought of his marrying an unmarried mother, and he and Gerda had to split up.Then, years later on his deathbed, Vito contacts Eva and asks him to visit him. She with fond memories of her childhood and of her mother and Vito being together, sets off on a train journey from the North to the South of Italy to see him for the last time. The book describes, in pretty much alternate chapters, the life Gerda and Eva had in the South Tyrol – with all its hardship, civic unrest, and violence – and Eva’s train journey to the South. It is well written / well translated, and it is observant and thoughtful. A real and epic family saga over the years. In TripFiction terms, Italy comes through loud and clear.A book I would recommend – not just for the story line and the writing, but because it also sheds a fascinating light on a little known struggle. I feel better informed about modern European history having read Eva Sleeps.

    2019-04-03 06:15

    SprachgruppenzugehörigkeitserklärungAls Eva von einer Geschäftsreise nach Südtirol zurückkommt erhält sie einen Anruf, mit dem sie nie gerechnet hätte. Die Geschichte ihrer Mutter Gerda ist von Not gekennzeichnet, denn sie wurde in eine Welt hineingeboren, deren Probleme man heute kam noch kennt. Nach dem ersten Weltkrieg wurde Südtirol Italien zugeschlagen und eine Volksgruppe auseinander gerissen, die das nicht so wollte. Das machen die Mächtigen halt, man kennt es ja. Die Menschen sind es, die damit leben müssen. Und so ist ist es Gerdas Familie beschieden ein eher hartes Dasein zu führen, denn zunächst haben sie sich nach Bayern umsiedeln lassen, um dann später als arme Leute zurückzukehren. Damit war Gerda jegliche Zukunftsaussicht verbaut und als sie mit Eva ungewollt schwanger ist, ist ihr Ruf auch noch dahin.Zum einen erfährt man durch die Erzählung viel über die Geschichte Südtirols, dessen deutschstämmige Bewohner eigentlich lieber zum österreichischen Teil Tirols gehören würden. Von Gewalt geprägt und der Unterdrückung der italienischen Zentralregierung entwickelt sich Südtirol doch zu einem durch den aufkommenden Tourismus wohlhabenden Landstrich. Vor diesem Hintergrund wird auf zwei Zeitebenen vom Leben und Erleben Gerdas in früheren Jahren und Evas in heutigen Tagen erzählt. Gerda durch ihr Elternhaus und die ungewollte Schwangerschaft geprägt handelt machmal etwas eigentümlich und nicht immer zum Wohle ihrer Tochter. Diese obwohl sehr intelligent hat auch ein paar sehr individuelle Lebensentscheidungen getroffen, teilweise ähnlich wie die Mutter teilweise auch konträr. Zwei kraftvolle Frauenpersönlichkeiten, abwesende Väter, tragische Familienereignisse und eine Zeit der politischen Veränderungen, die teilweise mit Gewalt durchgesetzt werden sollen, ergeben einen hochinteressanten und spannenden Roman, der dem Leser eine Zeit und einen Landstrich näher bringt. Fesselnd zu erfahren, dass es sich nicht nur um eine Region des Wintersports handelt, sondern um eine historisch Besondere, in der sich schicksalhafte Ereignisse abgespielt haben. In ruhigen Worten erzählt entwickelt sich ein vielfältiges, informatives und mitreißendes Zeitgemälde.

  • Fowler Martin
    2019-04-01 08:07

    If you have read and enjoyed one or more books of Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan Quartet -- it starts with "My Brilliant Friend" -- you might also like to read "Eva Sleeps" by Francesca Melandri.The books of both authors were originally written in Italian, but the English translations are of high quality.Whereas Ferrante's four novels examine slices of Italian post-World War II history and society from the point of view of blue-collar southern Italians, often looking north, Melandri's book covers much the same time period, but from a different perspective. "Eva Sleeps" is set deep in the history of an alpine Italian province known as Alto Adige that was once part of Austria, when it was known as South Tyrol. There, except for a brief period when Hitler essentially ruled Italy, the residents -- mostly German speaking -- look south, often warily if not with outright hostility.Both books provide insight into Italy's intensely regional inclinations, something my wife and I kept encountering during a three-week visit to northern Italy in the autumn of 2016.Ferrante and Melandri are also both writing novels set first and foremost from the perspectives of women and the lead characters of both prize their independence above all else. Not surprisingly, certain conflicts arise as a result. Whereas Ferrante's Neopolitan quartet is a hot-tempered work throughout -- reflecting perhaps the nature of southern Italians -- Melandri's book is far more dispassionate, even when dealing with inflammatory matters.Both of these books can be viewed as feminist in nature (in Ferrante's case, particularly the third volume "Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay") in that they attempt to once more divine just what women want and why.The books differ in at least one essential way. Ferrante's series revolves around endless love triangles and the resulting emotional turmoil they bring about -- a bit too much of that for me at the end of the day. In contrast, Melandri focuses on the mystery of a single relationship.Despite certain reservations having largely to do with personal preferences, I recommend both -- and especially if you spend much time in Italy, or are planning to visit.

  • Felicity
    2019-04-06 05:18

    The novel very effectively addressed one of the most common of human behaviors: fear, suspicion, misunderstanding of and discrimination against the minority ‘other.’ In this case, the author gives us a vivid depiction of the Northern Italian, Alto Adige regional culture that is closely associated with the German/Austrian language, history and customs from which it derived. I was unaware of this history, dating back to WWI, and likened the play of events related in the book to other, more familiar separatist ethnic movements in Europe, including in Corsica, Catalonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia. In simplistic terms, the mainstream Italians regarded the representatives of Alto Adige as “Nazis,” and conversely, they labeled their southern counterparts as “Fascists.” As I read this I thought of the abundance of stories like this one in which lovers were ultimately divided by parents/families, who discouraged unions with the ‘other’- the classic story being, of course, Romeo and Juliet. The author’s device of using the train voyage that encompassed the entire novel as a metaphor for Eva’s personal ‘quest’ to understand her own identity, was compelling. As the train moved closer to her destination and travels in and out of dark tunnels, the reader learns how desperately Eva has wanted to understand why she ended up ‘lost,’ with no father, no husband, no children, no brothers or sisters. When she did finally receive the gift and accompanying letter that her mother had refused to accept on her behalf years before, she realized could at last let down her lifelong guard and ’sleep.’ Interesting how the novel addressed the notion of beauty and its impact on her beautiful mother as well as on the observer. I was struck how for women, beauty can attract the advances of men with the most inappropriate of motivations as well as the resentment of women who feel diminished and intimidated by what is unattainable to them.

  • Govnyo
    2019-03-25 07:27

    South Tyrol used to be in Austria. It was given to Italy after World War One. The locals were unhappy, there was a commotion, that commotion has since ended. 'Eva Sleeps' describes this. Some nods are made in the general direction of a plot. It is easy to turn pages with this - it killed a Sunday afternoon for me. It is good if you want to learn more about South Tyrol. The story is unassuming and makes few demands on the reader. The characters are generally predictable, as are the main tensions. Plot twists are clearly signposted. The prose is polished enough to seem literary without being pretentious. There is little literary merit in it beyond that. The population of these pages is entirely one-dimensional. The protagonist is good, some people around her too, others are evil. The choices they all make are devoid of ambiguity. Towards the end, the historical material runs out. A saccharine ending supersedes it. It is easily the worst part of the book. I assume this was translated with a view to cashing in on Ferrante's success. Eva Sleeps is as far from the Neapolitan Novels as Naples is from the Sudtirol. Ferrante is violent and blunt, Melandri tame and restrained. Not 100% convinced that this comparison is very fair on the latter though.The historical material is certainly intriguing - this morning I knew nothing about the Sudtirolean struggle, now I know quite a bit. I have no reason to doubt that everything is accurately rendered. There is something very harsh to be said here though. It is not very different from other minority struggles described in other works of fiction (and beyond). I do not particularly regret reading this but I doubt I will be recommending it to anyone.

  • Christian Westermann
    2019-03-26 04:07

    Eva Sleeps is an extensive family saga. Tracing the history of a border region called Alto Adige (Südtirol in German) in Northeast Italy and a family of Germans living there, this book is a work of historical fiction that has a contemporary edge to it with the present-day narration by the main character of Eva. If you want to see and feel the Italy of the 1930s to the 1970s, especially from the perspective of a non-Italian, then this is a read for you.As a reader, you are exposed to so much. Places in time, far-right bombings, rallies, the speeches of Benito Mussolini and more but above all the geographical differences in Italy and their reflections in the people. The book is interspersed with German and Italian words or phrases, which I believe truly brings you into this border region. Eva is a tough character to like, especially as a male reader as she has an attitude about her. She starts out as very critical of everyone but herself. Slowly however, her character improves as she travels to the south of Italy to see the one man that has been the closest thing to a father she has every had, a loving man named Vito. This book is just as epic as Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet, but simply not as fierce.

  • arcobaleno
    2019-03-29 06:02

    Lettura a voce alta "on demand", iniziata con poca convinzione da parte mia, ma sempre più partecipata col procedere. A volte la costruzione alternata tra presente e passato disorientava, il sovrapporsi del "quasi saggio" al romanzo dava un senso di discontinuità, il procedere senza ...guizzi appiattiva l'andamento, eppure si è rivelata una lettura necessaria. Apprezzata ancor più, grazie al contributo in diretta di un'ascoltatrice novantenne ma attenta, lucida e ricca di ricordi; esperienze, gioiose e sofferte, vissute in prima persona in una terra tanto di natura stupenda quanto dura da vivere e difficile da capire: l'Alto Adige/Südtirol con le sue problematiche sociali e di convivenza, le cui origini sono state, al tempo "dinamitardo", volutamente taciute e non affrontate, o distorte; ancora oggi spesso sconosciute nel profondo. E i ripetuti commenti alla mia lettura "E' vero, era proprio così!" mi hanno dato la misura della realtà di una nostra Storia non lontana, al di sopra di falsi campanilismi.

  • Crycra
    2019-04-17 05:10

    Mi è piaciuta tanto la parte storica, mi ha aiutata a capire la mia regione.Per il resto, credo potesse durare un centinaio di pagine in meno. Alle volte le descrizioni (quasi sempre con tre elementi, cosa che a un certo punto ho iniziato a trovare irritante, devo ammetterlo) diventavano pesanti e abbastanza inutili.La protagonista nel presente l'ho trovata davvero insopportabile, per cui le parti in cui narrava lei sono state difficili da digerire.In realtà ho sentimenti abbastanza contrastanti riguardo al libro perché effettivamente scorre piuttosto veloce ed è a tratti interessante, ma superato l'inizio, ho sempre avuto la sensazione che ci fosse davvero troppo dentro e arrivare alla fine è diventato più incaponimento che voglia di vedere come sarebbe finito. Ma già da piccola saltavo spesso le parti con le descrizioni per leggere i dialoghi, magari sono fatta male io :P

  • Donna Ferrari
    2019-04-06 02:02

    The America Italy Society (AIS) started a book club to encourage reading contemporary Italian authors. Eva Sleeps was our second book and I LOVED it. The book covers a period and location in Italy that I was not familiar with - WWII when German speaking Alto Adige residents were forced to assimilate into Italy in both language and culture. The book follows three generations of one family and how the decisions to force assimilation affected each generation . It is an engaging book of conflict, reconciliation and redemption. I found myself seeking more information about the real lives of the Italian governmental officials and the protesters / terrorists fighting assimilation. The story is fascinating and opened my eyes to a region I knew nothing about.

  • Natalie
    2019-03-22 08:15

    Ik vond dit wel een fijn boek. Het vertelt enerzijds het verhaal van een prachtige regio die ik alleen ken van ski- en wandelvakanties. Het staat vol geschiedkunige feiten, symboliek ook. (bv. pasen, Eva) Soms mss iets teveel zodat het ritme af en toe uit het verhaal gaat. Anderzijds is het verhaal een roadstory van een reis door Italië, waarbij Eva op zoek gaat naar de (stervende) man die haar als kind nauw aan het hart lag. Een emotioneel weerzien. De hele treinreis zorgt voor een fijne afwisseling in het boek.Alles bij elkaar genomen, een aanrader! "Eva slaapt" is het ontroerende relaas over een regio en een vrouw, beiden op zoek naar hun identiteit. Als je nog eens gaat skiën in Alto Adige, neem dan zeker dit boek mee! (ik heb het ook gedaan en het werkt perfect!)

  • World Literature Today
    2019-03-26 07:19

    "This is a book that realizes the full implications of what it means to love. That is, when one experiences love, one must also feel the loneliness and chaos that surround such a flight of heart—and most often, love happens when it is the least expected or convenient. In this new English translation, Katherine Gregor is able to capture the many nuances of the Italian language, all the while pushing Melandri’s text to an even larger audience." - Sarah WarrenThis book was reviewed in the November/December 2016 issue of World Literature Today magazine. Read the full review by visiting our website:

  • Susan
    2019-04-16 03:06

    First book by this author published in English. Takes place in northern Italy, bordering with Austria, where the majority of the population speak German. The book takes place around the time of the Second World War, when local men were "given" the choice to fight with Germany and expected to feel more of an alliance with Germany than Italy where they often felt like unwelcome strangers in the country of their birth. This is a beautifully written story of a family torn by language, prejudice, history, violence, feminism, patriarchy, - and also fascinating as I really knew very little about how strong were the feelings and deep was the history of this language minority within Italy.

  • Ann
    2019-04-06 05:27

    De personages blijven nogal afstandelijk maar het was geen slecht boek. De plaats waar het zich afspeelt, Zuid Tirol, is interessant. Maar de , weliswaar noodzakelijke want ik ken niets van de geschiedenis van het gebied, uitleg tussendoor zet het verhaal wel telkens stop. En eigenlijk heeft de locatie niet echt impact op het verhaal. Dus vaag ik me af of het geen beter boek was geworden als het gewoon ergens anders was gesitueerd.

  • Janette Mcmahon
    2019-04-13 02:03

    A historical fiction novel around the disputed land between Austria and Italy. A look at the effected people through a Tyrolean family line. Well written, though be prepared for an in-depth view of the politics of the times. Recommend for historical fiction readers who enjoy a deeper look.