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The Dry Heart

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,013 ratings  ·  139 reviews
The Dry Heart begins and ends with the matter-of-fact pronouncement: “I shot him between the eyes.” As the tale—a plunge into the chilly waters of loneliness, desperation, and bitterness—proceeds, the narrator's murder of her flighty husband takes on a certain logical inevitability. Stripped of any preciousness or sentimentality, Natalia Ginzburg's writing here is ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by New Directions (first published 1947)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
È Stato Così = The Dry Heart, Natalia Ginzburg
A frighteningly lucid feminist horror story about marriage. The Dry Heart begins and ends with the matter-of-fact pronouncement: “I shot him between the eyes.” As the tale—a plunge into the chilly waters of loneliness, desperation, and bitterness—proceeds, the narrator's murder of her flighty husband takes on a certain logical inevitability. Stripped of any preciousness or sentimentality, Natalia Ginzburg's writing here is white-hot, tempered by
Jenny (Reading Envy)
“I shot him between the eyes.”
This is on the first page of this 1947 Italian novella about marriage, expectations, and the parts people play without stopping to think.

This will be a quick read for Women in Translation month!

I had a copy of the reprint from the publisher through Edelweiss; it came out June 25, 2019.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. It’s no spoiler to say this centers on a woman shooting her husband between the eyes, as that’s how the book (novella, really) opens. Refreshing - which is surprising since the book was first published in 1947. Moves between present (the time immediately following the shooting) and the past (the history of the marriage) smoothly and is psychological without making the reader feel toyed with.
Meghan Minior
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended.
Mia Vicino
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
big step forward for She Did That! literature of 1947
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Wow! In fewer than a hundred pages, Natalia Ginzburg managed to rearrange my brain and knife my heart. The last line of this novel is a geode.
Katie Palazzolo
May 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
honestly, wasn't a fan. I wanted much more drama, but really it was just stuck in the wife's insecure anxious mind the whole time. Re-reading all the hype about the book, I noticed that it focused much more on the authors writing style. So I see what they were talking about but it ultimately wasn't what I was looking for.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
"All of a sudden I asked myself for whose benefit I was writing. Not for Giovanna or Francesca, not even for my mother. For whom, then? It was too difficult to decide, and I felt that the time of conventional and clear-cut answers had come for ever to a stop within me."
Steve Felt
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Short. Brutal. Horrifying. It ends as it begins, "I shot him between the eyes." In between it clearly and unsparingly examines the events leading up to the beginning/climax and yet leaves the reader to examine the why. What is the truth?
Jessica Rosner
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In only 88 pages she creates fully formed human beings with exquisite internal lives.
There is nothing fancy in her writing. It’s as if one melded Garcia Marquez with Rachel Ingalls.
Not for those who want hyperbole.
It is sad and in the end, wonderful.
Varsha Ravi (between.bookends)
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translated, novellas
Such a quietly chilling novella. Ginzburg’s writing is sharp and unsentimental, a controlled rage that rings through loud and clear. Who would have ever thought a story of a dull, listless marriage could read like a taut, tense, psychological thriller. Her mysterious directness of prose, feels neither contrived or removed. Instead it strikes through, right to the core of its beating, empty, dry heart.
Rob Sassor
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Natalia Ginzburg is our new drug of choice. The Dry Heart meanders simple patterns that seem meaningless until they stop. For quasi-queer characters written in 1940’s Italy, Ginzburg earns a solid ...more
Mike Walter
More Novella than Novel.

Well written but not much of a story. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it so it would be hard for me to recommend it
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
fails the bechdel test miserably and all for this one vapid uncommunicative old dude i had zero patience for
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is easy to become immersed in the world of this novella, in part because the narrator is so unapologetic and sincere. Similar to Offred in A Handmaid's Tale (which was written nearly forty years later), the protagonist in The Dry Heart, whose name is not granted, shares her story with no actual intended audience, accepting that no one will probably care to hear her out.
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
At 88 pages the book was too long for a short story and too short for a novella. It read as too minimal or not minimal enough. Also, too many sentences were repeated over and over again, which is always a turn-off for me.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
meaningful sentences. Hidden goals، brief.
A woman, shows the dark side influences of a woman in many people. Natalia created a blue deep world.
There's a foolish hope surround hopeless. It's a block relationship, stupid love and bloody inside struggle.
Ginzburg shows just one way for happiness in all relationships: talk together a lot.

I impressed.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
ouch! ginzburg writes with a cold and clear elegance that was wonderful to read but this hurt my feelings! men are trash!
Royce Houthuijzen
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a wonderfully compelling storyteller Natalia Ginzburg was! Highly recommend and look forward to reading more translated novels by her.
Reza Eskandary
Just for readers in Iran: The edition translated by Mr. Afshar is a disaster!
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
“I was no longer so sure that he loved me, although he went on bringing me books and chocolates and seemed to enjoy my company. But he said nothing about himself, and while I read Xenophon to my class or put the girls’ marks down in my records, I could imagine only his slight figure going about its mysterious activities, wrapped in a flapping raincoat, following impulses and desires of which I was entirely ignorant. Then something like a fever would come over me. Once I had been a fairly good ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I learned about Natalia Ginzburg when some of her work (including The Dry Heart) was reissued in English earlier this year. Having hopped on the Elena Ferrante bandwagon a few years ago I was interested to read other Italian woman writers and Ginzburg seems to be a precursor to Ferrante. The Dry Heart is one of Ginzburg's earlier works and I see the seeds of Ferrante's The Days of Abandonment in this emotionally resonant novella.

Ginzburg's writing is beautiful and concise, conveying the very
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can about say that I loathed each adult character in this book. While lost in this book, The Dry Heart by Natalia Ginzburg, I enjoyed every minute of the 99 pages. Ginzburg construction of the characters was so smart and charged with such phenomenal attention to detail; it was as if the reader was inconspicuously standing next to each character on every page.

What do you get when you have a woman with an immense imagination, dealing with new grief, a miserly cousin, and a less than exciting
Justine Francis
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2019
"Tell me the truth," I said.
"What truth?" he echoed. He was making a rapid sketch in his notebook and now he showed me what it was: a long, long train with a big cloud of black smoke swirling over it Nx himself leaning out of a window to wave a handkerchief.
I shot him between the eyes.

This is beginning of The Dry Heart by Natalia Ginzburg. It is described as a "lucid feminist horror story about a marriage", but it doesn't have the same psychological thriller feel like a book like Georges
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a short, perfectly cut gem of a novel. It grabs from the first page and doesn't let go. It is not a spoiler to say that a woman shoots her husband between they eyes. And we are off....
The author is undergoing a well-deserved rediscovery, as described in this excellent New Yorker appraisal.
The comparisons and connections to Elena Ferrante are obvious.
While I struggled through the same author's "Family Lexicon," I will return to it with fresh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italian, marriage, murder
A sad, thoughtful, and pessimistic novella addressing the human desire to be accepted at any cost, even knowing the consequences. The narrative is read from the main character's perspective: the smooth articulation of feeling and solemn acceptance of one's weakness can be embraced, yet the notion that you are an outsider, a God even, watching the pathetic struggles of human selfishness seems to loom at large. It's difficult to feel empathic for any character in this short story, for that's what ...more
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful cover for this paperback reissue of a book that, but for certain giveaways (references to some bygone styles and social customs), one would never suspect was first published in 1947. In writing style and tone, this book is modern with a translation (a new one) that is obviously accomplished.

It's one to read in one sitting, not just because of its slim page count but because this is the best way to experience all that Ginzburg shows us about expectation, rumination and desperation, and
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, gender
I made the mistake in starting The Dry Heart when I was tired and not in particular the mood for reading. So this sat in my car, at my desk, and on my bed untouched for a week. Today, however, everything changed and I completed this in one sitting. Natalia Ginzburg packed a quite punch in less than ninety pages. This is a story about depression, betrayal, and respect (or, rather, the lack of it) in marriage. It reminded me a lot of La Femme de Gilles, another book about the pitfalls and ...more
William Thomas
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Just a few of these insanely dull sentences will put you to sleep, rest assured (get it?). I don't know who is reviewing this in a positive light but it is just the most insanely boring piece of work I've tried to read all year. It doesn't even have the nostalgia factor or whimsy of Fleur that made her tolerable and sweet. This is just... bad. Her bio says she has written a few plays and this one would have fared much better as one. It is without idiosyncracies, without movement, as stiff and ...more
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Italian novelist, essayist, translator and playwright, who has written of her unconventional family and its opposition in Turin to Fascist oppression. Ginzburg's novels are a mixture of reminiscence, observation, and invention. Her novel Lessico famigliare (Family sayings) won the Strega Prize in 1963. Much of her fiction is written in the first person in a plain style, and constructed almost ...more