Out running an errand, Valeria Cossati gives in to a sudden impulse – she buys a shiny black notebook. She starts keeping a diary in secret, recording her concerns about her daughter, fears her husband will discover her new habit and the constant churn of the domestic routine. With each entry Valeria plunges deeper into her interior life, uncovering profound dissatisfaction and restlessness. As she finds her own voice, the roles that have come to define her-as wife, as mother, as daughter-begin to break apart.
Forbidden Notebook is a rediscovered jewel of Italian literature, published here in a new translation by the celebrated Ann Goldstein and with a foreword by Jhumpa Lahiri. A captivating feminist classic, it is an intimate, haunting story of domestic discontent in postwar Rome, and of one woman’s awakening to her true thoughts and desires.
Alba de Céspedes y Bertini (11 March 1911 – 14 November 1997) was a Cuban-Italian writer.
De Céspedes worked as a journalist in the 1930s for Piccolo, Epoca, and La Stampa. In 1935, she wrote her first novel, L’Anima Degli Altri. Her fiction writing was greatly influenced by the cultural developments that lead to and resulted from World War II. In her writing, she instills her female characters with subjectivity. In her work, there is a recurring motif of women judging the rightness or wrongness of their actions. In 1935, she was jailed for her anti-fascist activities in Italy. Two of her novels were also banned (Nessuno Torna Indietro (1938) and La Fuga (1940)). In 1943, she was again imprisoned for her assistance with Radio Partigiana in Bari where she was a Resistance radio personality known as Clorinda. From June 1952 to the late 1958 she wrote an advice column, called Dalla parte di lei, in the magazine Epoca. She wrote the screenplay for the Michelangelo Antonioni 1955 film Le Amiche. Her work was also part of the literature event in the art competition at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
After the war she went to live in Paris. Although her books were bestsellers, De Céspedes has been overlooked in recent studies of Italian women writers. (Taken from Wikipedia)