Nominated by:

Stadtbibliothek Bremen, Germany

Publisher of nominated edition:

Haus Publishing, UK

Roman Elegy

Sabine Gruber      

Translated from the German by Peter Lewis

2015 Longlist

It is 2009: writer Clara Burger arrives in Rome to sort out the affairs and clear the flat of her school friend Ines, prematurely dead from cancer. Sorting through Ines’ belongings, Clara finds a manuscript containing not only an autobiographical account of Ines’s strange experiences while working as a chambermaid in Rome in the summer of 1978 but also the life story of her former employer, the hotelier Emma Manente.

In a sweeping tale of remembrance and reconciliation, of lives unfulfilled and loves unrequited, Roman Elegy interweaves the personal stories of three resilient women with a fascinating historical narrative of the Eternal City, in all its contrasting squalor and beauty, compassion and savagery.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Sabine Gruber was born in 1963 in Merano, Italy. She has received several awards for her writing including the City of Vienna Support Award, the Austrian State Support Award and the Elias Caneti Scholarship of the City of Vienna.

Librarian’s Comments

Clara Burger from South Tyrol travels to Rome to the flat of her suddenly deceased girlfriend Ines. She discovers a manuscript of an unfinished biography. This manuscript reveals the story of two German-speaking women from South Tyrol against the background of fascist Rome in the 1940s, as well as the time of terrorism in the 1970s and theBerlusconi era. The story moves from the personal microcosm to the macrocosm of recent Italian history. Sabine Gruber’s narrative style is sensitive and psychologically convincing.

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