Once considered the greatest writer of Italy's postwar generation--and admired by authors as varied as John Banville and Rivka Galchen--Elsa Morante is experiencing a literary renaissance, marked not least by Ann Goldstein's translation of Arturo's Island, the novel that brought Morante international fame. Imbued with a spectral grace, as if told through an enchanted looking glass, the novel follows the adolescent Arturo through his days on the isolated Neapolitan island of Procida, where--his mother long deceased, his father often absent, and a dog as his sole companion--he roams the countryside and the beaches or reads in his family's lonely, dilapidated mansion. This quiet, meandering existence is upended when his father brings home a beautiful sixteen-year-old bride, Nunziatella.
A novel of longing and thwarted desires, filled with Morante's "brutal directness and familial torment" (James Wood), Arturo's Island reemerges in this splendid translation to take its rightful place in the world literary canon.
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This lovely new translation by Goldstein, known for her work on Elena Ferrante and Primo Levi, will hopefully go a long way toward re-establishing Morante's reputation among English-speaking readers. It's a magnificent novel, breathtaking in its psychological acuity. Arturo's maturation--and accompanying disappointments, even betrayals--is deeply painful. ...But there are moments, too, of striking beauty.... The book is brimful with insight. By turns devastating and otherworldly, Morante's novel is a classic, and Goldstein's new translation should return to it the attention it deserves.--Kirkus Reviews [starred review]
Ann Goldstein's deft translation is an exception; it gives a clear sense of Morante's love of the romantic, while preserving a lightness of tone that prevents the lyrical prose from calcifying.--Madeline Schwartz, New York Review of Books