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Kind of a Book Review — La sonrisa etrusca

la sonrisa etruscaI am writing this post in order to practise some English and, willing to kill two birds with one stone, I’d like to share with you my impressions about a novel I read some time ago.

One of my positive experiences with original books in Spanish is connected with the name of José Luis Sampedro and his novel La sonrisa etrusca, first published in 1985.

It is a story about an old man from a little mountain village in the southern part of Italy who, due to some serious health problems, comes to Milan in order to undergo a medical examination and starts to live with his son, his daughter-in-law and his infant grandson. He hates Milan with all its mannerism and pretentiousness from the very beginning, but at the same time the city brings to him something wonderful and unexpected which brightens up the last days of his life and makes him feel needed and loved.

The novel depicts the relationships that the old man establishes with his toddler grandson, with an old lady friend, who he finally marries, and with a young college student and his professors. I personally was attracted by the description of the old man’s feelings and thoughts, leading to the reconsideration of his views and life attitudes.

The book is very beautifully written, at times with a touch of sadness or perceptive humour. It makes you feel and think about life, smile and maybe even shed a tear. For me it was a highly enjoyable reading and I wouldn’t doubt to recommend it to anyone who is fond of books about people’s lives. And it is also an excellent way to keep up your Spanish.


P.S. Any comment or correction will be appreciated.


8 ответов на “Kind of a Book Review — La sonrisa etrusca

  1. A nice review!
    Did you compose it all by yourself?
    I would say «a kind of a book review» and «…who is fond of books about people´s lives»

  2. Thanks a lot for your comment, Ksenia! Well, I was doubting about the use of this «kind of» before nouns and was asking myself if it could be used the same way it is used before adjectives and verbs. In Russian I meant «что-то вроде» / «типа«. Now it seems to me it is wrong, so I’ll better change it. Or should I just add an article, as you said?

    • Mira lo que encontré anoche por casualidad en Practical English Usage de Michael Swan: «In an informal style, sort of and kind of can be used before almost any word or expression, or at the end of a sentence, to show that we are not speaking very exactly, or to make what we say less definite.» And here’s an example with a noun: «I’ve had sort of an idea about what we could do«. Entonces, el artículo sí que era necesario, pero solo una vez: Kind of a Book Review (:

      • I really should get this Swan book, because you are not the only person who cites it!
        And what Spanish style guide would you advise me to buy?

  3. Yula, thank you very much for this post. I have been looking for something in Spanish to read and review of this book interested me very much. The only doubt I have is that this book may be very advanced for me vocabulary-wise. Would you suggest it to someone with B2 level of Spanish?

  4. You’re welcome! Olga, as for the level, I don’t know what to say. I remember having some difficulties at the very beginning, but after I got through the first pages, everything became clear and easy. I think, you should try it if you’re interested. After all, it’s a good thing to face challenges (:

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