Sunday, August 22, 2010


History: A NovelHistory: A Novel by Elsa Morante

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Monumental in scope, this is a story of ordinary people caught up in world-changing events. Little 'Useppe is born of an anonymous German father and an Italian mother during World War 11 and the novel is as much the story of wartime Italy as it the story of 'Useppe and the mother, half-brother, friends and dogs who love him.

The translation is excellent, except for one or two infelicitous renderings such as "lupini" [lupini beans] as "lupins". The character Davide's diatribe at the end does not work well in English, which is hardly the translator's fault, and is probably too long in any language.

Not a book to choose if you like a happy ending but a must if you want to learn more about life in wartime Italy.

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CherryPie said...

It sounds interesting.

Betty said...

That got me to thinking about something we saw 40 years ago in Sicily and I'm wondering if they're still there. We noticed people living in the old German pillboxes leftover from WWII. Is it still being done?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I couldn't put it down, Cherie. Hi, Betty. Not now but people lived in caves above Modica till the 1960s. A friend's husband remembers hiding from the Germans in one, too. Now some of these caves have been converted into desirable residences.

jams o donnell said...

It does sound like an excellent book.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I think you would find it very interesting, jams.


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