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Rosetta Loy: La bicicletta [The Bicycle]

Loy’s first novel sets the tone for the later ones. Set in rural Italy at the end of World War II, it is the simple story of a family – mother, father, two daughters, two sons. Like the later Le strade di polvere (The Dust Roads of Monferrato), not a great deal happens. The end of the war is there in the background, with occasional glimpses of American and British soldiers, but they are merely background and barely relevant. Loy mainly gives us a portrait of the four children – loving, eating, dancing, finding their political path, being ill and, of course, learning how to ride a bicycle. Loy’s skill is in making this book a joy to read despite the lack of action for she paints a portrait of a little world that is barely touched by the outside world yet has its own validity and completeness.

Publishing history

First published in Italian 1974 by Einaudi
No English translation