Catherine Dunne – In the Beginning

There are emotions, feelings and sensations you think belong only to you, details you think you are the only one to perceive: however, it’s surprisingly pleasant to realize, instead  that these are shared experiences. It often happens in Catherine Dunne’s books.

Rose and Ben have known each other since school, got married very young and have got three children. It’s Monday, April 3rd, 8 o’clock a.m. An ordinary day begins. Rose is boiling the eggs for breakfast and at that moment she thinks she is “one half of a happy couple”. But just a few words and she becomes “half of nothing”. Suddenly Ben tells her he doesn’t love her anymore. Surprised, Rose listens to her husband’s parting words and is shocked, but she never loses her dignity, not even when her husband storms out of the house.

The novel follows Rose through her process of rebirth. Her rational part doesn’t abandon her and allows her to analyze the relationship with her husband with a clear mind. Her maternal instinct and practicality help her to rebuild a new life soon. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself, she is not blind to the reasons that led to the current  situation. Actually, she is able to evaluate her relationship with Ben and her role within the family.
She is a sweet but authoritarian  mother, who takes care of her children and help them overcome the pain. She doesn’t need to be one half of something: she will manage to make a new life on her own. On the other hand, Ben behaves hideously: he seems to be unaware that he is responsible for such pain, he doesn’t take any of his responsibilities and will turn out to be a loser. Damien, the eldest son, proves to be the son any mother would like to have.

The story unfolds on two parallel plans: past, present and a few flashes about Ben. Dunne’s  style of writing  seems like a friendly little chat with a reassuring peace: the result is a compelling, pleasant read, which warms the heart and makes you think about what you have read.


Translation by Valentina Ornaghi, edited by Camilla Gervasoni and Chiara Viviani, supervised by Jenovia Amisti Smith
Camilla Gervasoni and Chiara Viviani are students of the Linguistic Sciences and Foreign Letters faculty at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Brescia, Italy; they collaborate with Inkroci in the translation project coordinated by Professor Jenovia Amisti Smith.

 

 

 

Camilla Gervasoni
Chiara Viviani
Jenovia Amisti Smith