Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “La Storia” as Want to Read:
La Storia
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

La Storia (La Storia #1-2)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  2,215 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
"Un jour de janvier de l'an 1941 un soldat allemand marchait dans le quartier de San Lorenzo à Rome. Il savait en tout 4 mots d'italien et du monde ne savait que peu de chose ou rien. Son prénom était Gunther. Son nom de famille demeure inconnu".
Dans cette fresque à la fois historique et populaire, Elsa Morante fait revivre à travers l'histoire d'Useppe, fruit d'un viol co
Mass Market Paperback, 945 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Gallimard (first published 1974)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about La Storia, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about La Storia

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 23, 2013 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Roger Brunyate
Jun 16, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ww2
Hidden in History

The word "history" contains another word within it: "story." In Italian, the two words are the same, La Storia. This is the title of Elsa Morante's huge novel of 1974, which contrasts the history of the Second World War and its aftermath with the story of a poor family in Rome, so marginal as to have no chance of appearing in any history books at all. Her initial protagonist is Ida Mancuso, a widowed schoolteacher who is bombed out of her apartment and has to share a single room
Sep 17, 2011 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, italian
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
Stand By Me
Apr 30, 2016 Stand By Me rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Un'opera lacerante: gli episodi narrati in questo romanzo sono un susseguirsi di emozioni forti, spesso di profonda tristezza, che percuotono il lettore con la loro immanente malinconia. Affiancati, poi, ad altrettanti avvenimenti descritti con rara sensibilità capaci di scatenare attimi di incosciente felicità, purtroppo destinati ad essere prontamente spazzati via.

In questo romanzo, ambientato per la maggior parte negli anni della seconda guerra mondiale, i protagonisti hanno il ruolo di cavie
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
La storia: romanzo=History, Elsa Morante
عنوان: تاریخ؛ نویسنده: الزا (السا) مورانته (مرانته)؛ مترجم: منوچهر افسری؛ تهران، نیلوفر، 1381؛ رمان در 760 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1394؛ شابک: 9789644481901؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایتالیایی قرن 20 م
رمان تاریخ سومین رمان الزا مورانته است که برای نخستین بار در سال 1974 میلادی منتشر شد و با استقبال عمومی بی سابقه ای روبرو شد؛ معرفی کوتاه: در یکی از روزهای ماه ژانویه 1941، سربازی آلمانی که قصد سفر به آفریقا را داشت، در یکی از محلههای رم، به نام «سن لورنزو»، گذارش به م
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
Mar 02, 2015 Bruno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La Storia ti entra nel cuore e poi strappa e lacera tutto quello che trova.
Feb 27, 2011 Jama rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, wwii
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,
Nov 19, 2008 Denis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 12, 2015 Ilse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, reviewed
Van elke reële handeling, onverschillig, moeizaam of riskant, is de beweging een natuurlijk element. Maar tegenover de tegennatuurlijke irrealiteit van een totaal, eentonig, slopend, stompzinnig en zinloos ongeluk zouden volgens hem ook de gesternten stilstaan...

Toen De geschiedenis in 1974 verscheen, werd het in Italië uitgeroepen tot de roman van de eeuw. Het is een aangrijpend boek van epische allure over grenzeloze moederliefde, de complexiteit van familiebanden, oorlog en verlies. Deels op
Feb 07, 2011 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, italian
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
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
I. Mónica del P Pinzon Verano
No conozco muchas personas que lo hayan leído. Solo una, mi hermana que además fue quien me lo recomendó.

Hay muchos libros que no se olvidan por diversas razones, de este debo decir que ha marcado mi trayecto como lectora. Busqué y sigo buscando un libro que me toque cada fibra como este, aunque la verdad he sentido miedo, la carga emocional es pesada y es imposible no involucrarse. La historia es UNA HISTORIA, (valga la redundancia) que arranca en la italia fashista, de la segunda guerra y alc
Dec 24, 2011 Alessia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 19, 2010 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sean Hoskin
Sep 20, 2013 Sean Hoskin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2015 Aloke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's difficult to do this book justice, for a better picture I'd refer you to the many excellent reviews on Amazon (esp. Pagac, Schneider and Brunyate). This is a flawed masterpiece but when it flows it is so masterful and moving that you'll overlook any infraction. It is very long and I would recommend it in electronic format. If you find yourself drawn in after the first few pages (after the historical recap) I believe you will enjoy the book.
Bianca Rita Cataldi
Non si può pensare di parlare di un libro come questo in poche righe, e quindi non lo farò. C'è da dire, però, che forse questo è davvero il romanzo italiano di guerra per antonomasia, principalmente per completezza: della guerra (la seconda mondiale) racconta non solo il "durante" ma anche il "dopo", con tutte le sue conseguenze economiche, sociali ma soprattutto psicologiche. È un libro che riguarda tutte le guerre, pur raccontandone una sola, perché di ogni tipo di conflitto mette in luce lo ...more
Toby Newton
Feb 24, 2013 Toby Newton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A magnificent work of art, which goes straight into my Top Ten 10 All Time Books Ever (which numbers, now, around 50 or 60 titles). Morante writes beautifully and more or less every other page I found myself sitting back from the act of reading and thinking "wow!"

What she achieves in this necessarily long dissertation on the life of a soul too simple, too fragile and too ingenuous for the brutality of the C20th, in general, and the lunacy of Hitler's war years, in particular, is an essential com
Jan 18, 2011 Gattomaoz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cristina - Athenae Noctua
Una grande prova di narrativa, in cui si armonizzano la documentazione delle vicende più dolorose del secondo conflitto mondiale e quadri di quotidianità rassicuranti. La penna di Elsa Morante è delicata, scorrevole e precisa, adeguata alla sostenutezza del tema e, allo stesso tempo, all'ordinarietà dei personaggi. Particolarissima è la focalizzazione scelta dall'autrice, che assume la prospettiva del narratore onnisciente, ma, allo stesso tempo, è interna alla vicenda.
Dec 09, 2009 Fabio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 20, 2013 Red rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italo
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
Mar 19, 2010 Jasmine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian, 2010, favorites
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
Oct 10, 2014 Jeneba Charkey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 03, 2011 Shahar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 23, 2015 Howard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe
This story tells of Italy 1940 to 1948 during the war. Ida is a half Jewish widow with a son 14 year old Nino. She lives near Rome and ends up being raped by a drunken German soldier and gets pregnant with Useppe. How she survives and her sons develop, with side characters including a couple of slightly anthropomorphised dogs is the tale. Each chapter begins with the background of the events of the war that year. I gather that it’s a worthy read being part of extensive scholarly analysis (Jewish ...more
May 23, 2012 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Woman
  • The Ragazzi
  • Uomini e no
  • Don Giovanni in Sicilia
  • Canti
  • That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana
  • Grande Sertão: Veredas
  • Il partigiano Johnny
  • The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
  • Fontamara
  • La ragazza di Bube
  • Un amore
  • بوستان سعدی
  • The Silent Duchess
  • Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year
  • La donna della domenica
  • Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
  • The Recognition of Śakuntalā
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...

Other Books in the Series

La Storia (3 books)
  • La Storia I
  • La Storia II

Share This Book

“ 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.” 16 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.)”
More quotes…