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.
NOMINATING LIBRARY 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.