The Road to the City
by Natalia Ginzburg (tr. Frances Frenaye)
‘They say that big families are happy, but I could never see anything particularly happy about ours.’
Delia is one of five children, growing up in a poor Italian village. She is seventeen, and dreams of marrying a rich man; she dreams of a grand apartment in the city and silk stockings. To escape her father’s neglect and her mother’s sadness, she begins to take the dusty road to the city every day, accompanied by Nini, her sweet and mysterious cousin.
When Nini takes a job in a factory and moves in with a city woman, Delia sees another way of being. But when she discovers she’s pregnant, she agrees to marry the father, seduced by the promise of wealth and comfort. Nothing, not even Nini’s desperate declaration of love, can stop her – but her rejection will be his undoing.
The Road to the City is a short, poignant novel about the dreams of youth, and the cruelty it takes to make them come true.