The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani

The setting is the Italian city of Ferrara on the eve of the Second World War. The rich and detached Jewish family of Finzi-Continis keep themselves secluded in their ostentatious property behind an imposing garden wall. The narrator, Giorgio, a poorer member of the Jewish community, falls in love with their lovely daughter Micol. Having met her by chance he is eventually admitted to play tennis on idyllic Summer afternoons. 1938 is not a great time to be Jewish in Italy, though, and the outside world threatens to smash this beautiful dream. A marvellously haunting and elegiac quality pervades this novel.

Published by Bassani ( in 1962.

Made into a gorgeous film by director Vittorio Bonicelli in 1970. ( Available on DVD at

Giorgio Bassani

288 pages in Penguin Classics paperback edition.

ISBN 978-0141188362

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