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Italy

Viola Di Grado

Viola Di Grado

Viola Di Grado was born in Catania, Italy, and currently lives in London. Her first novel, 70% Acrylic 30% Wool, was the winner of the 2011 Campiello First Novel Award and a finalist for Italy’s most prestigious literary prize, The Strega.

All Viola Di Grado's books

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Jennifer Tseng and Viola Di Grado shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Awards

Latest reviews

  • Viola Di Grado, an exciting new Italian literary voice, begins her novel Hollow Heart with this sentence: In 2011, the world ended: I killed myself. In fact, the book is narrated by a dead woman, Dorotea, who describes exactly how she killed herself and why (she drowned...
    — Cleaver Magazine, May 8 2016
  • The dead Dorotea Giglio serves as the narrator of this surprising and beautiful novel after she slashes her wrists in a bathtub in the very first paragraph of the book. What follows next is a troubling, darkly funny, and creative examination of life and life after death. From...
    — World Literature Today, Dec 22 2015
  • Viola di Grado’s Hollow Heart is, for starters, extremely difficult to describe. A fearless and complex sophomore effort, Hollow Heart records in first-person the aftermath of a young woman’s suicide. Some essence of Dorotea Giglio continues to go to work, hang around her...
    — The Quarterly Conversation, Dec 15 2015
  • Under its polished surface Hollow Heart seethes with distress. As in Viola Di Grado’s debut novel, 70% Acrylic 30% Wool, the central figure is a student, Dorotea, a biologist; wintry Leeds has become Di Grado’s native Sicily, though the sunnier climate offers no remedy for...
    — The Times Literary Supplement, Sep 29 2015
  • Dorotea Giglio (1986-2011) is the unlikely heroine of the Italian novel, Hollow Heart, released in English this past August by the increasingly chic publisher Europa Editions. Unlikely because she’s already dead when the book (which functions as a sort of memoir of the afterlife)
    — BookSexy Review, Sep 9 2015
  • A third of the way into Italian novelist Viola Di Grado's Hollow Heart, the narrator Dorotea Giglio says, "You see the dead. Or, at least you read them. You've become necroliterate." This, Di Grado's second novel, teaches the reader not only to read the language of the dead but...
    — Bookslut, Sep 1 2015
  • Reading a detailed chronicle of the decomposition of a human corpse might sound like a grim undertaking. And in an obvious way, it is. But Viola Di Grado’s charming prose romps through chthonic worlds of nibbling insects, ammoniac seepage and shattering depression, using language...
    — Music & Literature, Aug 10 2015
  • “YOU WHO ARE still alive can choose to believe or not to believe in me,” the narrator of Hollow Heart says coolly, “just as I can choose to believe or not to believe in you.” She disdains being studied, “like insects trapped in a jar,” even as she craves it, telling...
    — L.A. Review of Books, Jul 22 2015
  • "In 2011 the world ended: I killed myself."
    — San Francisco Chronicle, Jul 15 2015
  • Hollow Heart begins with the narrator's suicide. On 23 July 2011 Dorotea Giglio slits her wrists in the bathtub and bleeds out. For all her trouble, the finality one comes to expect with death is rather a let-down, as she lingers on in semi-spiritual form, able to continue walking...
    — The Complete Review, Jul 1 2015
  • Italian? Yep. Female? Uh-huh. Published by Europa Editions? That’s right. Frantic, sweeping, emotion-laden writing? Correct. New book out in English in 2015? Absolutely. Elena Ferrante? Nope… * If you believed Ferrante was the only female Italian...
    — Tony’s Reading List, Jun 25 2015
  • If you don’t count the one-woman sensation that is Elena Ferrante – whose agile prose has found her not a few (well-deserved) admirers in our recent Summer Books feature – Italian literature has been having a rather tough time of it in recent years (recent decades, some...
    — Times Literary Supplement, Jun 15 2015
  • I hope I never meet Viola Di Grado. Her latest novel, The Hollow Heart, has the authentic ring of autobiography. Pure imagination is incapable of inventing something this assured, this intense and vivid. It must be drawn from life. And what a sick, doom-laden, psychotic...
    — Intense Sensations, Jun 14 2015
  • In Viola di Grado’s second novel, a suicide victim narrates her short life and surprising afterlife. Twenty-five-year-old Dorotea Giglio slit her wrists in the bathtub in July 2011 and expired in “a grim mojito of mint bubble bath and blood”. Over the next four...
    — WeLoveThisBook.com, Jun 11 2015
  • In her second novel, The Hollow Heart, the London-based, Italian author Viola di Grado embraces the gothic and macabre with relish. The narrator, Dorotea Giglio, is dead at the age of 25. She has killed herself by slitting her wrists in her bath and she embarks on a swirling,...
    — The Independent, Jun 6 2015
  • I love end-of-year list time, because it’s a chance to reflect on the best moments. I read over 150 books this year, which I’m sure must be a record for me, and is certainly unusually high. There were plenty of highlights amongst all those books, but I have managed to sift...
    — Dec 31 2013
  • Viola Di Grado's 70% Acrylic 30% Wool (translated by Michael Reynolds, review copy courtesy of the publisher) is a wonderfully bizarre novel, one set in the English city of Leeds.  From the very start, the city plays a starring role in the story, mostly...
    — Aug 15 2013
  • "Metaphor is the lifeblood of fiction", Angela Carter once said, and in her late fiction, when she tended to write about people who were at home in the world, she was fond of domesticating metaphors. In her first novel, Viola Di Grado shows a similar taste for the homely ("the...
    — Mar 29 2013
  • What are the chances of following a German novel set in Scarborough with an Italian novel set in Leeds? What is the fascination with Yorkshire? Certainly not the weather. Welcome to Leeds, says Camelia, a purulent freckle …..where the sky is as grey as a chicken...
    — Mar 14 2013

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