A teenage girl encounters the shocks of first love at the height of the summer holidays in Greece. A young filmmaker celebrates her first moment of recognition by impulsively buying a Chanel dress she can barely afford. Both halves of a longstanding couple fall in love with others and shed their marriage in the space of a morning. In all of these sparkling stories, characters take risks, confront fears, and step outside their boundaries into new destinies.
Tracing the contours of the modern Italian diaspora, Francesca Marciano takes us from Venetian film festivals to the islands off Tanzania to a classical dance community in southern India. These stories shine with keen insights and surprising twists. Driven by Marciano’s vivid takes on love and betrayal, politics and travel, and the awakenings of childhood, The Other Language is a tour de force that illuminates both the joys and ironies of self-reinvention.
Francesca Marciano is the author of the novels Rules of the Wild, Casa Rossa, and The End of Manners. She lives in Rome.
“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
“Brilliant. . . . One finishes this collection feeling altered, provoked, exhilarated.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“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
“Thrilling. . . . Delicious. . . . Gorgeous. . . . Marciano uses the tightness of the short story to focus sharply on the effect places [have] on their sense of self.” —The Washington Times
“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
“The best new collection I’ve read in years. . . . I loved every single one of these affecting, suspenseful, and sublimely crafted stories.” —Julia Glass
“An absolute delight. . . . So compelling, so satisfying and ultimately so addictive that one closes the book hankering for more.” —Andrea di Robilant
“I love being in Marciano’s unpredictable worlds. . . . The writing is so moving, and conveys so much truth with a marvelously light and tender touch. One feels a haunting recognition for the minuscule losses that are such a large part of everyday life.” —Sheila Heti
“This outstanding book has a quality I find only in the best short-story collections: that, after each chapter, I cannot immediately flip to the next, but need time to absorb what has just unfolded so memorably before me. Francesca Marciano is a superb storyteller.” —Tom Rachman, author of The Imperfectionists
“Marciano has a sharp eye for the right details and a sure grip on portraying people. It takes only a few sentences for her to pull the reader right into their worlds and feel the conflicting forces swirling around them. . . . Her subjects are the kind of events that loom large in our lives when they occur, and remain to haunt us ever after.” —The Toronto Star
“From Rome with love, this elegant and colorful collection will get you seriously thinking about giving up life in the States and going to Venice, a small Greek village, or any of the other places she uses as a setting in her stories.” —Flavorwire