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Head of Zeus
Distant Fathers
Distant Fathers Marina Jarre, translated by Ann Goldstein

This singular autobiography unfurls from author Marina Jarre's native Latvia during the 1920s and '30s and expands southward to the Italian countryside.

In distinctive writing as poetic as it is precise, Jarre depicts an exceptionally multinational and complicated family: her elusive, handsome father – a Jew who perished in the Holocaust; her severe, cultured mother – an Italian Lutheran who translated Russian literature; and her sister and Latvian grandparents. Jarre tells of her passage from childhood to adolescence, first as a linguistic minority in a Baltic nation and then in traumatic exile to Italy after her parents' divorce. Jarre lives with her maternal grandparents, French-speaking Waldensian Protestants in the Alpine valleys southwest of Turin, where she finds fascist Italy a problematic home for a Riga-born Jew.

This memoir – likened to Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov or Annie Ernaux's The Years and now translated into English for the first time – probes questions of time, language, womanhood, belonging and estrangement, while asking what homeland can be for those who have none, or many more than one.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Memoir
03 Feb 2022 * 256pp * £9.99 * 9781803280929
'This is a beautifully ingenious memoir, saturated in the history of the European 20th century, and made all the more compelling by Ann Goldstein's luminous translation'
Vivian Gornick
'Like Nabokov's Speak, Memory, this book is more concerned with time and perspective than narrative storytelling, though Jarre is more like Ferrante in her lack of nostalgia and unflinching focus on the difficulties of relationships'
'It's an incalculable source of joy when one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century can resume dialogue with the readers of today'
Il Libraio
'Ann Goldstein's shimmering translation of Jarre's prose delivers into English a European masterpiece'
Benjamin Taylor
'Gems of language and ideas abound ... Lyrical prowess ... Haunting prose'
Publishers Weekly
Marina Jarre
Marina Jarre
Marina Jarre was born in Riga to a Latvian Jewish father and an Italian Protestant mother. She spent her childhood in Latvia until 1935, when her parents separated and she moved to Italy to live with her maternal grandparents, among devout, French-speaking Protestants in a community southwest of Turin. Jarre wrote over a dozen novels, short story collections and nonfiction works. Cultural identity, personal character, psychology, and autobiographical themes are central elements of her writing.