Often overshadowed in her lifetime by her husband Alberto Moravia, I am here to tell you Elsa Morante is a much better writer than her husband ever was, and like Lucia Berlin and Clarice Lispector her work is now being republished, and rightfully reclaimed by history. Arturo's Island is Morante's second published novel - and my most loved of her books. It is translated into English for the first time by Ferrante's translator Ann Goldstein (the very name Elena Ferrante is infamously an homage to Morante, her idol), and the connections are clear - Morante's prose has all the intensity and solemn melodrama of Ferrante, but the world of Arturo's Island is more dreamlike, savage, an absolute pleasure to live inside for as long as the pages last.— Madeleine
“Astonishing for the quality of the writing . . . the complexity of the invented world, the wide- ranging view of the human condition.”— Elena Ferrante
Elsa Morante’s novels were once considered the greatest of Italy’s postwar generation. Here, Ann Goldstein’s “deft translation” (Madeline Schwartz, New York Review of Books) of Arturo’s Island heralds a “second life” for the beloved author, finally garnering Morante “the new readers she deserves” (Lily Tuck, Wall Street Journal). Imbued with a spectral grace, 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 or reads in his family’s lonely, dilapidated mansion. This quiet, meandering boyhood existence is existentially upended when his father brings home a beautiful sixteen- year- old bride, Nunziatella. A novel of thwarted desires, written with “the power of malediction” (Dwight Garner, New York Times), Arturo’s Island reemerges to take its rightful place in the world literary canon.