Turin, the International Book Fair to start on May 9
Domenico Scarpa celebrates Imaginary Life by Natalia Ginzburg

The Turin International Book Fair is back under the new editorial direction of Annalena Benini, in the name of one of the most famous female Italian writers, who grew up right under the shadow of the Mole Antonelliana: Natalia Ginzburg. Her volume Vita immaginaria (Imaginary Life), which will celebrate its 50-year anniversary in 2024, also gives title and theme to the new edition of the International Book Fair. Ginzburg’s volume addresses the women’s living conditions during the years of Feminism, those of Jews and of the State of Israel, the fragility of democracy, which is always under threat, up to a reflection upon creative processes.
These issues are all still relevant to the present day and will partly find a place at the Turin Book Fair between May 9 and 13. “Imaginary life drives creative life, as Natalia Ginzburg wrote in her superb essay, and it sometimes anticipates and guesses real life events,” explained Benini during a recent presentation of the program at Turin’s Teatro Regio. This year’s Book Fair is therefore a tribute to imaginary life, in all its forms: to its creative, melancholic, hopeful and always new way of creating other worlds and bringing them together, even hoping that some of them becomes real.”
Domenico Scarpa, literary consultant for the International Primo Levi Studies Center in Turin, was entrusted the editing of the republication of Imaginary Life by the publisher Einaudi. “I am very pleased that people talk about this volume, as it is one of Ginzburg’s least known works. It is a collection of non-fiction writings published between ‘69’ and ‘72 by the newspapers La Stampa and Il Corriere della Sera,” he explained to Pagine Ebraiche. The collection features a harsh critique of Io e lui (The Two of Us) by Alberto Moravia, as well as a positive yet bitter review of John Schlesinger’s film Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Since this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the novel La storia (History) by Elsa Morante, it’s worth resuming Ginzburg’s analysis from that time. “In this novel, the narrating voice is that of who has crossed the deserts of despair,” Ginzburg wrote about Morante’s masterpiece. “It is the voice of those who know that wars never end, and that Jews, or someone else for them, will always be deported.” This volume and all Natalia Ginzburg’s books “are great classics of the past century. Republishing them means to keep them alive, and the choice made by Benini, who loves Ginzburg greatly, represents an invitation for everyone to read them.”

Translated by Laura Cattani, revised by Alida Caccia, students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, trainees in the newsroom of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.