Like Sand in the Wind-Sonia Raule & Vasken Berberian
gender: F & M
novel in translation
Following the 1988 earthquake in her country (Soviet era Armenia), Lena is forced to go to Italy where she works as a nanny for Alice. Alice is the wife of a prominent Armenian doctor but is staunchly Italian. Despite this, the two form a strong bond.
Predictably I was fascinated by the history of places I’ve never known and by the Soviet issues. That the earthquake clearly exposed the worst of the Soviet rule was fascinating and the authors are clearly critical of the cost-cutting that made the earthquake so devastating. The absolute desperate poverty that made the after effects more devastating are depicted in this sparse way that evoked descriptions of post-bomb Hiroshima in a way.
The story set in Italy is somewhat less unusual. There is the familiar narrative of the picture-picture marriage is actually damaged as well as the tension between immigrant and natives played out on a domestic stage were not unusual. However, both Alice and Lena are developed clearly and so you end up rooting for their relationship and that becomes the most interesting part of the story.