Translated by Ann Goldstein, translator of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan quartet.
Finalist, Premio Strega, 2019 | Winner, Premio Alassio Centolibri | Selected among the 10 Best Italian Books of 2018 by Corriere della Sera
Ida is a married woman in her late thirties, who lives in Rome 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.
“Nadia Terranova’s narrative style captivates us with its precision and sensitivity.”—Annie Ernaux
“Readers who appreciate Ferrante’s unpicking of the legacies of trauma will find a sister narrative in Terranova’s book, in which protagonist Ida leaves Rome to help her mother clean out the family home in Messina, Sicily. This means returning to the place where her father, deeply depressed, disappeared, and where Ida and her mother lived on day after day, unable to find the words to express the pain of his absence... Farewell, Ghosts explores what it is like to be robbed of life: by grief, by depression, by self-destruction... In this novel full of ghosts, every street name is a haunting and every word is a summoning to the dead. 'His coffin remained everywhere,' Ida says at one point, but it’s she who is unable to live.”—Hannah Williams, The Guardian