A sensually charged novel about two girls growing up fast in a failing industrial town on the coast of Italy
Anna and Francesca are on the brink of everything: high school, adulthood, and the edge of ambition in their provincial town. It’s summer in Piombino, Italy, and in their skimpy bathing suits, flaunting their newly acquired curves, the girls suddenly have everyone in their thrall. This power opens their imagination to a destiny beyond Piombino; the resort town of Elba is just a ferry ride away and yet they’ve never dared to go. Maybe the future is waiting for them there, or somewhere beyond.
When their friendship suffers a blow, the girls set off on their own only to discover that their budding sexuality takes them further than they expect, though not as far as their dreams. As their choices take them to a painful crossroads, the girls must reconnect if they have any hope of escaping their small town destinies.
In this poetic, prizewinning debut, Silvia Avallone captures the lost innocence of a generation. Harrowing yet ultimately redemptive, Swimming to Elba is a story about the power of friendship, and the way that family, friendship, and economics shape our world.
Silvia Avallone is an Italian poet and novelist. Her debut novel, Swimming to Elba, was first published in Italy as Acciaio, and won second place in the 2010 Premio Strega. Born in Bielle, Italy, she now lives in Bologna.
Antony Shugaar is a writer and translator. Among his recent translations is Sandokan by Nanni Balestrini, for which he was awarded a 2007 NEA translation fellowship.
Cassandra Campbell is an actress, director, and teacher who has performed in New York at the Public Theater, the Mint Theater, and the Clurman Theatre. She is an accomplished voice-over artist whose credits include numerous audiobooks, documentaries, and commercials in both Italian and English.