Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its protagonists, the fiery and unforgettable Lila, and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflicted friendship.
Venetian gondola-maker Luca Vianello considers his whole life arranged. His father charted a course for his eldest son from the day he was born, and Luca is positioned to inherit one of the city’s most esteemed boatyards. Soon he will marry the daughter of an artisan prow-maker, securing a key business alliance for the family. But when Luca experiences an unexpected tragedy in the boatyard, he believes that his destiny lies elsewhere. Soon he finds himself drawn to restore an antique gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride.
"The title of the book comes from an expression by the people of 'Gagliano' who say of themselves, 'Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli' which means, in effect, that they feel they have been bypassed by Christianity, by morality, by history itself—that they have somehow been excluded from the full human experience." Levi explained that Eboli, a location in the region of Campania to the west near the seacoast, is where the road and railway to Basilicata branched away from the coastal north-south routes.
A groundbreaking, unprecedented bestseller in Italy, Roberto Saviano’s insider account traces the decline of the city of Naples under the rule of the Camorra, an organized crime network more powerful and violent than the Mafia.
The eight stories in this collection, by Moravia, Pavese, Pratolini, and other modern writers, have been selected as being representative of contemporary Italian writing. The English translations provided are literal rather than literary, and there are notes and biographies to help the student of Italian. However, the volume can also be helpful to Italians, who can improve their English by studying a strict rendering of stories with which that may already be familiar.
The Conformist (Il conformista) is a novel by Alberto Moravia published in 1951, which details the life and desire for normalcy of a government official during Italy's fascist period. It is also known for the 1970 film adaptation by Bernardo Bertolucci.
Marcello spends the entire novel in a search for what he perceives to be a normal life - normal activities, a normal appearance, normal emotions, and so on. However, he confuses normality with conformity, and in his quest to conform, subjugates his already-repressed emotions. When the natural course of his life presents him with ethical dilemmas - the assignment to betray Professor Quadri, his attraction to women other than his wife - he is ill-prepared to deal with them. Moravia also intimates a connection between sexual repression and fascism.
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