‘A Pair of Eyeglasses’ by Anna Maria Ortese, translated by Ann Goldstein and Jenny McPhee

Literally how a child sees the world, another tale from Europe’s recent past of poverty, lest we forget how recently we were like ‘the others’ that fortress Europe seems intent on turning away. A girl literally made sick by seeing things clearly. Reminds me of the Bushwhack Bill song ‘Ever so Clear’: “I had to lose an eye in order to see things clearly.” Quite.

First published in English in The Bay is Not Naples, Collins, 1953, most recently republished as Evening Descends on the Hills, Pushkin, 2018. Also collected in The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories, Penguin, 2019. Available online here

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