erasing clouds

Book Review: Linda Ferri's Enchantments

by eric m. hoover

“I got goose bumps and it made my head spin, as if I were foreseeing the risk I would run by growing up and becoming a woman.” The coming of age dangers Italian writer Linda Ferri confesses in her first novel Enchantments are nothing you or I haven’t faced during those innocent years before puberty. From the obstacles of exchanging dress for the private plays your friends put on to the betrayal of siblings and best friends these short stories connect us to the young girl raised in the suburbs of 1960’s France.

At first she is an outcast; Italian born and brought to this new land by a father who has finally given up on get rich quick schemes for legitimate work, Linda has to adapt to the “Frenchkids” and the turbulent period the world is in. She brings us through her childhood of schooling, summer vacations and family Sundays with such an artistic language you can almost see the words as paint on a canvas working on the visual senses of your mind. Each vignette is depicted so vividly that they almost seem like one of your own memories. That trick is what helps the reader fall into Enchantments. The experiences we’ve all had growing up become charming anecdotes in later years and that is exactly what Ferri is revealing to us in her novel; the wonderfully tragic memories of a child that helped form the woman who lives today.

Linda’s parents raise her and her siblings (two older brothers and a younger sister) the best they can with the help of relatives and their part time nanny “Dame Dame” who teaches the young girls what to expect of life, love and to stay away from “Lucifer”—better known as the sick old man who flashes women in their public park.

A memoir is a perfect way for someone like Linda Ferri to transition from screenwriting (she won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Fest 2001 for co-writing The Son’s Room with Nanni Moretti) into novels. Her words come off the page as those she was sitting with you at the coffee table or over dinner reminiscing about her early years.

When Linda’s father doesn’t return home one evening after taking his new little sports car for a spin you know it is not only the end of the book but also the end of Linda’s childhood. The cycle of life has come full circle from her book’s beginning at the arrival of her little sister—she sat silently at the crib waiting for her sibling to get a bit older so they can play together—and once you go back to the beginning the ending seems even more bittersweet.


Question, comments…drop a line: Eric at equalmusic dot com

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