Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Translated by Ann Goldstein

This award-winning novel about a woman facing her past introduces Terranova to English-speaking audiences.

Ida is a married woman in her late thirties, who lives in Milan and works at a radio station. Her mother wants to renovate the family apartment in Messina, to put it up for sale and asks her daughter to sort through her things--to decide what to keep and what to throw away.

Surrounded by the objects of her past, Ida is forced to deal with the trauma she experienced as a girl, twenty-three years earlier, when her father left one morning, never to return. The fierce silences between mother and daughter, the unbalanced friendships that leave her emotionally drained, the sense of an identity based on anomaly, even the relationship with her husband, everything revolves around the figure of her absent father. Mirroring herself in that absence, Ida has grown up into a woman dominated by fear, suspicious of any form of desire. However, as her childhood home besieges her with its ghosts, Ida will have to find a way to break the spiral and let go of her father finally.

Beautifully translated by Ann Goldstein, who also translated Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan quartet, Farewell, Ghosts is a poetic and intimate novel about what it means to build one's own identity.

Finalist, Premio Strega, 2019 | Winner, Premio Alassio Centolibri | Selected among the 10 Best Italian Books of 2018 by Corriere della Sera

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“Nadia Terranova’s narrative style captivates us with its precision and sensitivity.”

“The novel evokes the world so palpably portrayed by Elena Ferrante, a comparison underscored by Ida’s troubled relationship with Sara, a young woman who had been her closest friend but now spurns her efforts to reconnect. ... A delicate rendering of a life smothered by overwhelming loss.”

“[Farewell, Ghosts] is the best book I read in the last year. It moved me deeply.”

NADIA TERRANOVA (Messina, 1978) is the author of Gli anni al contrario (Italy: Einaudi Stile Libero), Casca il mondo (Mondadori, 2016) and Bruno, il bambino che imparò a volare (Orecchio Acerbo, 2012), She also writes for the Italian newspaper la Repubblica. Farewell, Ghosts is her first book to be published in English.