by Viola Di Grado, translated by Michael Reynolds - £9.99 Europa Editions (2013)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781609450779 | ISBN 10: 1609450779
In an innovative, thrilling literary style inspired by the syncopated rhythms of modern music, Viola Di Grado has written a most unusual love story, one as unpredictable as the human heart. Camelia is a young Italian woman who lives with her mother in Leeds, a city where it is always December and winter has been underway for such a long time that nobody is old enough to have seen what came before.
Camelia has dropped out of university and translates instruction manuals for an Italian washing machine manufacturer; her mother, Livia Mega, once a renowned flautist, spends her days inside photographing holes in the house. Camelia and her mother communicate in a language of their own invention, in which words play no part. The lives of these two women have been undone by a calamity in their recent past, and there seems little or no possibility of ever finding their way back to a normal life. But one day Camelia meets Wen, a local shop owner. To win Camelia's affections, Wen begins teaching her Chinese ideograms. Through this new language of signs and subtle variations Camelia learns to see the world differently and, in it, a chance for renewal.
Bittersweet and funny at times, heartbreaking at others, 70% Acrylic 30% Wool announces the arrival of an exceptional new talent on the literary scene. It will find admirers among readers of fiction by contemporary novelists like Karen Russell and Jennifer Egan.
(Price & availability last checked: January 2014)