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The Jewish Husband

de Lia Levi

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696304,503 (3.81)7
It is 1938 and fascist Italy has imposed its infamous race laws. A young Jewish professor entertains a tormented passion for the beautiful and enigmatic Sonia. She is everything that he is not - the privileged daughter of a family that is wealthy, prominent and, above all, gentile. He wins her affections, but the price is great. Winner of the Moravia Prize for Fiction, The Jewish Husband is a bittersweet story of passion, hatred, cruelty and oppression.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
It took me a little while to get into this one however I'm glad I stuck with it. It was a thought-provoking and compelling novel about a Jewish-Italian teacher who falls in love with a privileged Catholic woman in the 1930s and the consequences of the compromises/sacrifices he makes so that they can marry. ( )
  baruthcook | Aug 26, 2020 |
This one kind of crept on me. It is quietly told but gathers force as the story mvoes to the ultimate conclusion-rahter like watching a wave break on shore.

I hope more books by this author are translated. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
The story moves slowly, in fact I was speed reading this novel ( don't usually do it) to get to the "good parts" ( in other words too much posturing and exposition). Story is an important and reveals the impact of Mussolini's racial laws on Jewish community during WW2. Maybe even more important is the "bella figure" syndrome intertwined into Italian culture that allowed a family to more-or-less wipe out the Jewishness in their upper class family. ( )
  authorknows | Jun 30, 2013 |
The Jewish Husband by Lia Levi
Europa Editions
The cover of the book is evocative of a beautiful and graceful Sophia Loren--I loved It!

What a wonderful surprise this book was! I've read many stories about WWII and the holocaust but not one about what life was like during Facist Italy. Dino Carpi, now David Katz and living in Israel, is writing a letter to his son, Michele. A letter to try to explain his abandonment of his family before WWII sweeps throughout Europe. A story of love for Sonia and the humiliations suffered for that love. Being Jewish, loving a gentile and living in Italy during the reign of Mussolini was frightening but Lia Levi tells us a fascinating story of love, loss and heartbreak.
( )
  dragonflydee1 | Apr 3, 2013 |
The story is told from the point of view of a man, Dino, writing to a son, Michele, whom he hasn’t seen for years, from Israel, after WWII. Dino wants Michele to understand how their lives were shaped and so he describes his life in Italy with his son’s mother, a woman whom he loved a great deal. Dino was a teacher and a Jew who marked the major Jewish holidays for the sake of his family but not much else. He fell in love with a good Catholic girl, Sonia, whose parents are wealthy, shallow, prejudiced and fascist sympathizers. Sonia’s parents in particular were not enthused with the prospective marriage, but objections were overcome, the two marred and have a son. All seemed to be well, but slowly their lives started to unravel as the anti-Jewish laws forced Dino out of his job, increasingly restricted his life, and even forced his parents to sell their successful hotel (which Dino thought would be his fallback after losing his teaching profession) to an employee before they would lose everything.

As Dino puts it: “I am talking about the others, those who cheered the Fascists on, while we few managed to glimpse the invisible and insidious web that seemed to be slowly covering our everyday lives, while a faint haze of the ridiculous descended over everything, a ridiculous that gradually turned into something grotesque. “

As a “half-Jew” Michele would have all avenues closed to him for education or in a profession, so Sonia’s family hatches a scheme whereby Dino and Sonia annul their marriage, Dino effectively admits to not being the father of his son, Sonia marries a family friend (who is, or was, also a friend of Dino), Dino and Sonia start to live separately. For a while they continue to see each other surreptitiously, but more and more they have less and less in common and the relationship spirals downward to the point where Dino simply leaves and goes to Palestine to start a new life, a life he manages to entice his parents to share and so they escape while other members of the family are arrested and shipped off to Auschwitz.

The story is well told. I don’t think it is on a par with The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, but it does illustrate how political regimes and fads and currents disrupt and destroy ordinary lives, how people struggle to stay alive, and the sacrifices they will make for those they love.
1 vote John | Oct 9, 2009 |
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It is 1938 and fascist Italy has imposed its infamous race laws. A young Jewish professor entertains a tormented passion for the beautiful and enigmatic Sonia. She is everything that he is not - the privileged daughter of a family that is wealthy, prominent and, above all, gentile. He wins her affections, but the price is great. Winner of the Moravia Prize for Fiction, The Jewish Husband is a bittersweet story of passion, hatred, cruelty and oppression.

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