Book Review: The Other Language

The Other Language by Francesca Marciano. Reviewed by Louise Hilton.*


Italian author and screenwriter Francesca Marciano presents a stunning collection of short stories with her latest work, The Other Language. other-language

All of the nine stories feature Italian characters and share common themes of wanderlust and change. Marciano’s protagonists come from all walks of life and are scattered across the globe — from New York to Kenya to Rome — but each protagonist is yearning for something (or someone) else but not in an off-putting way.

Highlights are “Chanel,” about a filmmaker who buys a Chanel haute couture gown for the David Awards (the Italian equivalent of the Academy Awards) and, through a series of setbacks, ends up never wearing it, and “The Presence of Men,” in which an old seamstress in a remote Italian village receives the commission of her life when a Hollywood actor hires her to make him a bespoke wardrobe.

I usually don’t go for short stories, but this collection is a gem. It takes talent to create a fully developed atmosphere and characters the reader will care about in some way in just a handful of pages. Marciano has it in spades. Brava.

*This review was first published in The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) on Sunday, August 9, 2015.

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