Gayle Ridinger


A Xenos Books-Chelsea Editions collaboration



ISBN 10: 1-879378-85-X
ISBN 13: 9781879378858
English text, 121 pages, $12.


Author Biography | Read Selection

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GAYLE RIDINGER, a graduate of Oberlin College, worked briefly as a journalist in Ohio before moving to Milan, Italy in 1981. She has taught English and translation techniques at Italian universities for the last thirty years. During this time she published translations of modern and contemporary Italian poetry in such reviews as Modern Poetry in Translation (King's College London) and Yale Italian Poetry. She received the National Translation Prize from the Italian Ministry of Culture in 1997 and was subsequently named "Knight of the Star Order of Italian Solidarity." Her short short stories have appeared in Chelsea (New York ), and her children's book, A Star At the Bottom of the Sea (Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens, 2002), has been published in six languages. Author of The Shadow Wife (2007), a novel about twin sisters, she has also published the novel The Secret Price of History, co-authored with Paolo Pochettino (Wellesley, MA: Dante UP, 2014), which was a Finalist for historical mysteries in the 2015 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards.


"International in character, these short stories testify to the wonderful and sometimes despairing oddity of everyday life. What animates them is a narrative voice that is deeply sympathetic, yet never sentimental. The author captures the elusive moments of change that suddenly brighten, or plunge into darkness, the world of her characters. The reader is carried along by the narrative flow and made to eavesdrop at just the right moments."

~ Marco Pustianaz, Professor of English and Theatre, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Vercelli, Italy.

"These sharp, nervy fragments of everyday inquietude twist and turn faster than ordinary prose would allow. Ridinger has found cunning ways to speed things up, as if nothing were more attractive than catastrophe."

~ Tim Parks, author of Where I'm Reading From: The Changing World of Books.

"From the very first pages you feel as if you are tiptoeing into the most intimate part of the human soul. These short stories delicately capture the secret inner worlds of ordinary people, making them extraordinary in their simplicity."

~ Maicol Formentelli, author of Taking Stance in English As a Lingua Franca.


Poetess Gayle Ridinger

Selections from The Prose of Other People's Lives


OUT IN Ohio, Richard took time off from coordinating the new science development program to marry Sue.
Sue then took time off from her systems analysis to bear Adam.
And while they weren't looking, Adam began searching for Eve.
Sue in the meantime left Richard, Adam, and the phantasm of Eve for a three-week tour of Israel led by her former college Government professor and Rachel-something-or-other who had finally nabbed him as a husband.
My God, what is the strong admiration you still feel for this man?
If the phantasm of Eve had decided to come along as a surprise?
If Eve could decide to fight Rachel in the desert?
If Adam at the airport could sputter, "What's wrong? What have you done?" and mean not Eve but Sue.
If all that, then what happens to the new science development program and systems analysis? Do they suffer or not? And the wrath of whom?



A WOMAN arrives at a point in her life when she knows she is never going to afford to own a house. Meaning in the Italian sense - any place to live. She is relegated to the ranks of those who love four walls as if they were theirs but who must keep in mind the truth, like a mistress to a two timer, of the sort who manages to get beyond jealousy and pay no further heed to thoughts of revenge or seduction, takeovers or abandonments. In her impossible circumstances she will have only the best. Reading the want-ads religiously, and looking for real estate signs in nice city blocks, she finds out price, size, and imaginable features. How much sunlight at what time of day, say, and was there a balcony with French doors to leave ajar in the spring? She knows how to compare. Choosing one, she passes the building on her way to and from work. She sorrows to see curtains go up, windows come clean, lights turn on. At a certain point, reading the SOLD ads is like reading about matricides. Once she goes to a fortune-teller and gets him to put a hex on a five-room apartment with a fireplace and all-parquet floors.
It remains on the market for over a year.



THE RICH dentist's wife in Turin was pretty suspicious. Her husband paid for two hours of "English conversation" a week with a young American woman; they shut themselves in his bright, white study and well, at least they talked, for when she listened at the door she always had the satisfaction of hearing a clear voice. But what were they saying? Certain afternoons, based on her scarce, laughable knowledge of that language (who had studied other than French in those far-off days?), she began to get the feeling that her husband was complaining about her - using the American - the American woman - as a sounding board instead of properly paying a psychoanalyst. Well, Auturo, you just got to make up your mind. The American kept saying that, in the strangest of tones, too - once tenderly - and what the hell did that "make up your mind" mean!
Something to do with drawn lips?


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