Ann Goldstein on Alba de Céspedes’ “Forbidden Notebook”

February 17, 2023

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Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf speak with the celebrated translator Ann Goldstein, whose most recent translated work is a novel called Forbidden Notebook by Alba de Céspedes. Ann Goldstein is a former editor at the New Yorker, where she worked from 1974 to 2017. She began translating Italian literature in the ’90s and in 2005 she translated Elena Ferrante’s Days of Abandonment. She went on to translate Ferrante’s entire Neapolitan trilogy, starting with My Brilliant Friend. Goldstein’s latest translation, Forbidden Notebook, is a novel written by the Cuban-Italian writer Alba de Céspedes. First published in Italy in the 1950s, the novel centers around a woman who buys a notebook on a whim, and begins to furtively write in it, hiding it and herself from her husband and her children. Through the notebook, she begins to learn more about her desire, her guilt, and the sacrifices she has made for her family, her past, and her future.

Also, Maggie Millner, author of Couplets, returns to recommend The Call-Out: A Novel in Rhyme by Cat Fitzpatrick.