When Éditions Anne Carrière and their fantastic translator, Marie de Prémonville, approached me and wanted to translate Italian Love Cake into French, my immediate thought was: what makes my novel appealing to a French audience? The novel takes place in the period between the Great Depression and World War II, a time of much anxiety and economic pain. My characters are going about their business in their small, rural New Jersey town, and are feeling, while not exactly acknowledging, the war creeping closer. It isn’t until May 1940, when Hitler’s army marches on Paris that the war becomes real for most Americans. And before long, the United States is no longer able to remain separate from the devastation going on in Europe.
The French title is Liberata, an Italian word from the Latin “līber” meaning “freedom, liberty, condition of a free person.” Freedom is definitely what Marie Genovese is aiming for as she undergoes a feminist awakening. You will have to read Italian Love Cake, or Liberata, to find out whether or not she succeeds.