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La Storia
Elsa Morante
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La Storia

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,498 ratings  ·  99 reviews
History was written nearly thirty years after Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia spent a year in hiding among remote farming villages in the mountains south of Rome. There she witnessed the full impact of the war and first formed the ambition to write an account of what history - the great political events driven by men of power, wealth, and ambition - does when it reaches t ...more
945 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Gallimard (first published 1974)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Was it good for you, Jeanette?
Oh, thank you for asking, lover. No, it wasn't good for me. I left before I came.

I can't give this one star because that would mean it's a piece of garbage, which it most certainly is not. For the right kind of reader I'm sure it could be an amazing novel. Who is that right kind of reader? One who doesn't mind, or even enjoys, long, long, very long expository passages. One who doesn't mind, or even enjoys, long, sometimes very long, descriptions of a person's featu
Despite its flaws, I think this novel is important; without its flaws, which make for tedious reading at times, perhaps it wouldn't be itself. Because of these flaws, though, the book took me longer to read than a book this length normally would.

Except for a vocabulary choice that the translator got stuck on, the translation seems to be fine. Most of the time the writing flows, and there are some wonderful set-pieces, until that flow is interrupted by long-winded, detailed passages of things lik
Joyce Lagow
In 1947, Roman authorities discovered, in a poor section of Rome, a mother insane with grief, her dead 6 year old boy, and a sheep dog whose aggressive defense of her human charges forced the authorities to kill her before they could gain entrance to the apartment. On this true incident, Morante created a history for that little family.

In her fictional account, Ida Mancuso in 1941 is raped by a German soldier and becomes pregnant. She gives birth, secretively, to a little boy during the beginnin
Servirebbero dei saggi comparati, per commentare questo romanzo. Le reazioni che suscita variano a seconda delle inclinazioni, come i diversi modi con cui gli animi affrontano la consapevolezza. La scelleratezza umana vi si declina da sé, in una fredda e spietata cronologia globale. Si affianca a questa la maestosità di una storia puntiforme, invisibile, esaminata invece in ogni recesso. Storia che assurge a paradigma, come in sintesi estrema il titolo. Vi si declinano vicende dolorose, cruente, ...more
Am giving this 3 stars while I try to tease out how I feel about this book. Obviously, this is not a run of the mill novel, and there is a lot that Morante is doing that is very creatively interesting - the unknown first-person narrator of intimate, but limited, omniscience, the dwelling on animal and children's viewpoints, and the interplay of the nightmare of history, the landscape of Rome and the landscape of dreams. Indeed, this novel is utterly realistic and yet utterly fantastic, and that' ...more
Davide (one of his many names) is an anarchist turned addict. He is unlikeable to this reader. But in his growing delusion, he tells stories:

Once upon a time there was a cabbage...

Once upon a time there was a broken pot...

Once upon a time there was a drum...

Once upon a time there was a chicken's shit...

Once upon a time there was an SS...

It's history, no?

In this book, every chapter is a year; and every year begins with headlines. Historians write history this way, via headlines. What happened on
I read this book many years ago, but remember the emotional shock it provoked. It's aw, intense, devastating. It's not one of Italy's most celebrated novels for nothing. Epic and intimate, brutal and extremely realistic, it's a visionary work about the burden of history on everyday's peoples, and Morante's narration doesn't recoil from harrowing, uncomfortable moments that leave an indelible mark on the reader. It's probably one of the five greatest novels inspired by WWII.
On the back of my edition of this book, Alfred Kazin blurbed in Esquire:
One of the few novels in any language that renders the full horror of Hitler's war, the war that never gets into the books... Morante brings the war back in scenes of a whole neighborhood including its children and domestic pets, scrounging for food, life, and the air itself inside bomb shelters and deportation trains. She brings it all back by emphasizing the intense love between members of the same family, between a child
La Storia. Quella del mondo, dell’umanità tutta che tocca il fondo. Quella di una donna. Quella di una piccola famiglia infelice. La Storia di Ida e Useppe, una madre e un bambinello bastardo, che lottano per restare appigliati a questo mondo. Lottano con la disperazione di chi la vita, tutto sommato, la ama. Combattono insieme, uniti da un legame viscerale, primitivo, per andare avanti, col terrore di perdere pezzi di vita per strada, persone amate, volti amici.
Sarebbe inutile ora raccontare q
This is really an extraordinary book, and I can't believe it isn't better well known in the U.S. Morante does an excellent job of showing how large-scale political maneuverings affect everyday people. Her focus is on one impoverished Roman family, a single mother and her two sons, during and after World War II, but Morante uses their experiences and interactions to paint a broader tableau of the war's effects on poor Italians.

Morante's style of realism is exquisite. She paints the environments,
Sean Hoskin
A tragic and incredible tale which only someone of Morante's mastery could pen. A perfect contrast of the personal (her)story against the backdrop of World War II. While the Great Powers are busy divvying up the world in violent conflict, a woman's life intersects with a soldier who rapes her and creates a child. This is a novel of the poor and dispossessed writ large in juxtaposition to the happenings of the war; a personalization of the lives of the masses who are the social and moral casualti ...more
Pat Eggleton
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
Senza dubbio a suo tempo avrà suscitato grande polemica, oggi l'unica cosa che riesce a destare è una noia mortale. Non per l'argomento, importante e sempre attuale, della vita e la morte in tempo di guerra; ma per la scrittura lenta e ripetitiva, per i toni melodrammatici, per la prolissità soporifera. Una storia (con la minuscola) del genere avrebbe tratto gran giovamento da una prosa più asciutta e meno incline al sentimentalismo. Resta intatto il valore di testimonianza su temi sempre caldi ...more
An interesting parallel between the History as we learn it on books, and the impacts it has on the life of a poor teacher living in Rome during wartime. Very involving when it tells all those tales we heard many times from our parents and grannies - the bombings, the refugees and the nazi occupation. Style is beautiful and often poetic. Towards the end the story becames much more intimate and, in some long passages, a bit weak, loosing the grip in the reader's attention. I can't really compare i ...more
this is the most delicate book i have ever read in my life. if i could i would have given my respect to the author with a deep bow. this is because the tune is from the first to the last page one of compassion with good and bad. it is not dull in contrairy it makes me feel drunk of happiness finding a book not judging nor with cynism. again you slip into an other reality, dreamlike. but a dream more real than what you see with eyes open. are you ready? go and read this it's peerless
Devastating. Elsa Morante positions herself as a historian of the ordinary people, documenting the daily struggle and tragedy of the Second World War. Should be required reading.
Jeneba Charkey
As a chaplain, a hospice trainee, and a bereavement counselor, I have always taken comfort in the ideas of Viktor Frankl - that no matter how bleak the circumstances, no matter how intolerable and cruel the situation, as long as it is possible to find "meaning" in suffering, redemption is possible. In cases where I have attended a death or have had to announce a death to a grieving family, I could avoid being swept away by bitterness because there was always something I could do to comfort "some ...more
Letto per la Sfida dell'Anno di Nascita e per il Giro del Mondo in 80 libri del gruppo Readers Challange qui su Anobii. Bello e straziante al tempo stesso. La Morante ripercorre gli anni della Seconda Guerra Mondiale e dell'immediato dopoguerra in Italia ed in particolare a Roma raccontando "La Storia" di Ida, maestra elementare e vedova con un figlio, Nino, poco pi� che adolescente. Dalla violenza di un giovane soldato tedesco Ida partorisce il piccolo Useppe. La Storia di questi 3 personaggi v ...more
Juliet Wilson
This is a huge (over 700 pages), magnificent novel set in Italy immediately before, during and immediately after the Second World War. When I picked it up I thought it might be hard going but it isn't. Admittedly there are scenes of great hardship and suffering and some sections are difficult to read. However mostly it is driven by the irrepresible optimism and liveliness of the central character Useppe, who is born near the beginning of the book and is still a child by the end of the book. His ...more
Oh Useppe Useppe.
There are easy read books and there are books that you straggle with , putting aside and pick up again, rebelling and disagreeing with the way the writer takes the plot and then ,with some of them ,you let go – allow them to engulf you , guide you ,embrace you - Those are usually the books that walk with you way after the last page was read.
La historia was like that for me - Reading it didn’t always “flow” and really stammered ( if you can say that ) at times – ( I too, like U
Volevo commentare il libro della Morante, un libro controverso sul quale dopo il clamore iniziale è scesa una cappa di silenzio negli ultimi decenni. Mi sembrava di doverglielo a quest'immensa opera, però non riuscivo proprio a trovare le parole giuste perchè anche le mie impressioni non erano così lineari. Così ho scritto due commenti...


Quello che ci si trova ad affrontare leggendo questo romanzo è qualcosa di più grande di noi, qualcosa di atroce, terribile e sbagliato che è successo
Una prosa densissima, e al contempo ottima, in mezzo alla quale al lettore sembra, talvolta, di doversi fare largo a gomitate per poter procedere, quasi l’autrice soffrisse di un rinnovato e barocco horror vacui. Una galleria di personaggi umanissimi, anche se sempre un po’ al limite del caricaturale. Una “storia” con la esse minuscola che sullo sfondo della “Storia” con la esse maiuscola rivendica il proprio diritto a esistere e a essere raccontata. Una materia ricca per navigare in lungo e in ...more
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Taije Silverman
But I can't really say I read it, as I had to stop halfway through because I was too moved. Anyone less confused than I am about the difference between fact and fiction should read this book. It's magnificent. I entered the story, without noticing. I want to put a pocket in my heart and keep the main character there. But maybe everyone will have a different idea of who the main character is. And that's just some immeasurable part of the book's nobility.
Captures the emotional texture of the everyday lives of its characters in such minute and humble detail that you almost forget that they are living through some of the most dramatic events of the 20th century...Reading it slowly because loathe to finish...
Maryam Fany
این که می‌گویند خدا انسان را خلق کرده افسانه‌ای بیش نیست، به عکس از انسان است که خدا باید متولد شود و هنوز جهان در انتظار تولد اوست و شاید خدا هیچگاه متولد نشود...
Elsa, meglio di tuo marito

II guerra mondiale: argomento di cui si è già tanto letto e riletto? Si, però con "La Storia" ho pianto, a singhiozzi...
Marcello La
One of the saddest book I've ever read. And yet wonderful, moving, intense, real.
Even if it made me sick sad in the end, I'm happy I read it.
Jun 26, 2007 Silvia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is a book that changed my life and the way I understand literature. It is shocking, erudite, passionate, very engaged, and beautiful.
A great Italian novel, perhaps the most robust and inspiring of the twentieth century (certainly of the post-WWII period).
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Elsa married the novelist Alberto Moravia in 1941, and through him she met many of the leading Italian thinkers and writers of the day.

Morante began writing short stories which appeared in various publications and periodicals, including periodicals for children, in the 1930s. Her first book was a collection of some of the stories, Il Gioco Segreto, published in 1941. It was followed in 1942 by a c
More about Elsa Morante...
L'isola di Arturo Menzogna e sortilegio Aracoeli Lo scialle andaluso Il mondo salvato dai ragazzini e altri poemi

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“ Man, by his very nature, tends to give himself an explanation of the world into which he is born. And this is what distinguishes him from the other species. Every individual, even the least intelligent, the lowest of outcasts, from childhood on gives himself some explanation of the world. And with it he manages to live. And without it, he would sink into madness.” 12 likes
“How strange and unnatural destiny is. I married a man eight years younger than myself, and according to the law of nature I should have been the first to die, with Him at my side. Instead, it was my destiny to witness His death.'
In speaking of Giuseppe, she always wrote Him, with a capital letter. Her style was prolix, repetitive, but with a certain academic nobility; and her handwriting was elongated, fine, even elegant. (However, in her final decline, her letters grew shorter and her written words, all shaky and twisted, groped across the page, uncertain of their direction.)”
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