Arturo's Island - A masterpiece
Updated: May 8
Elsa Morante is internationally acclaimed for her novels La storia(History, 1974) and L’isola di Arturo (Arturo’s Island, 1957), and widely recognized as one of Italy’s greatest writers. She won the Premio Viareggio in 1948 and the Premio Strega in 1958, two of the most prestigious awards for literature in Italy. She was the first woman to win the Strega. Such a talented writer of novels, poetry and essays, she held collaborations with periodicals too.
Arturo is a 15 year old boy who grows up in near-isolation on the gorgeous and wild island of Procida in the Bay of Naples (Italy). His mother died in childbirth and his absent father, who left him as a child in the care of a servant on the island, returns only sporadically to the House of the Boys, as their house is called, where no woman can enter. Cut off from the island community, Arturo exists almost entirely in solitude: he roams the island with his beloved dog, swims and reads tales of heroes and adventurers that he dreams to do in the near future. He thinks his father is a real hero too.
The boy loves his father and he is shocked when he arrives from Naples with his new wife Nunziata, who at sixteen is only a bit older than Arturo. Their presence triggers passions and strong feelings of hatred, love and sadness, but also his passage from childhood to adult's life. Arturo’s Island is a masterpiece of human passions that nails the reader to a moving and dramatic portrayal of the loss of idealism and the force of desire.
The isle of Procida in the Bay of Naples, Italy, where the novel is set.
Thank you for reading, if you like what I do please consider donating a small and free contribution here: donate