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L'isola di Arturo

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  3,976 ratings  ·  228 reviews
Il romanzo è un'esplorazione attenta della prima realtà verso le sorgenti non inquinate della vita. L'isola nativa rappresenta una felice reclusione originaria e, insieme, la tentazione delle terre ignote. L'isola, dunque, è il punto di una scelta e a tale scelta finale, attraverso le varie prove necessarie, si prepara qui, nella sua isola, l'eroe ragazzo-Arturo. E' una ...more
Paperback, Gli Struzzi #70, 386 pages
Published 1975 by Einaudi (first published 1957)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  3,976 ratings  ·  228 reviews

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There is a fable quality to this book though it is set in the 1930s.
Arturo, and what a good name that is conjuring thoughts of noble knights and wondrous deeds, grows up practically alone in a large old house on a small island near Naples, with only his books, his dog and his little boat for company.
His books are very old books, mostly histories and legends which fill his mind with dreams of fabulous adventures and noble deeds.
His dog helps to fill the gaps left by his mother whom he never
Steven Godin
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, italy
Set in the years just before the outbreak of World War II Morante's strange coming-of-age tale has the feel of a fable, but one infused with menace, Jealousy, and harsh romanticism. On the Island of Procida (off the coast of Naples) lives Arturo, a motherless adolescent who is accustomed to solitude and spends his time lost in books or wandering around the uninhabitable places away from the rest of the populace, he is awaiting the return of his itinerant father, a man he idolizes, who frequently ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

In my reading of this novel there was a Before and an After.

In between there was the image heading this review, and it roughly happened when I was midway through. With few hints to a time period, with a very slow pace and an uninterrupted descriptive texture, the narration felt suspended. The story of Arturo, a boy with a boundless mind insulated in a male world and confined in his island, gradually starts opening up and taking more dimensions and a greater extension. The impetuosity and drive
How does one rate a book such as this?

It has power, the power of the grotesque, of an oath, of a curse. At its conclusion one recognizes this. The book's strength lies in the emotions laid bare.

This is a coming-of-age tale set on the small island of Procida in the Bay of Naples at the cusp of the Second World War. A widowed father, his son and the new stepmother are the three central characters. It is their relationships that readers observe. The eponymous Arturo is the son. We follow him from
Im excited about this one. The first new translation in sixty years, by Elena Ferrantes translator. ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Morante's fantastical fable acts a rejoinder for the neo-realism which dominated Italian art at the time; Morante's reality is wholly grounded in the mind of Arturo, an adolescent brought up in an isolated island in the bay of Naples, whose world is wholly inhabited by the island, from his aloof and domineering father to the baleful beauty of the island at night as it glimmered beneath the gossamer-web of stars;

"From the roof of the house, one can see the full shape of the island, which
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazing
This was an absolutely amazing book, Elsa Morante should be more widely known, though she only wrote four books, and went into exile during WWII and had a famous husband, that may have kept people from seeing the incredible author she was. The prose was delectable, sometimes flowery descriptions detract, but in this case it just furthers the magic of our understanding of the protagonist and the island that serves as a mirror to his soul.

The story follows the childhood of Arturo into his teenage
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

I have long wanted to read the Italian writer Elsa Morante, ever since I learned of her influence on Elena Ferrante. Arturos Island was Morantes second novel, originally published in Italian in 1957, and now freshly translated by Ann Goldstein for this Pushkin Press edition (my thanks to the publishers for kindly providing a review copy). It is a beautifully-observed, passionate coming-of-age story, one that captures the pain and confusion of adolescence in an imaginative, poetic style.
John Trum
Feb 25, 2013 marked it as to-read
I read this in Italian and found it one of the best written books I've ever read. The story is not important since the book is so well written. I get the impression that Elsa Morante is not read more because people think that she was Alberto Moravia's wife and was only know because of him--I really think it should be the other way around.
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, borrowed
Very well written. Even though it is overwrought in places, philosophical in others, ambiguous and filled with often unlikeable and repressed characters, it is a real page turner! As in other Italian novels I've read, the setting, the island of Procida off the coast of Naples, is lovingly described and becomes like another character.
I got to page 100 and couldnt bring myself to read any further ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, read-2019
Arturo's Island is a magnificent and complex novel about the coming of age of Arturo, a boy half orphaned at his birth and growing up in loneliness in the Neapolitan island of Procida. It didn't help to have a rich father who was aloof, cold, condescending and traveled most of the time (for fun) but did not share anything about his adventures. Poor Arturo yearned for his father's affection in vain.
Arturo's boring life took on the same routine everyday until his father brought home a 16 year old
Michael Fitzgerald
This is a novel of surprising and sometimes profound depth - ostensibly a story of a young boy free to roam an island paradise, this book delves into family (particularly the eternally strange and beautiful relationship between fathers and sons), provincial life, first love, death and aching loneliness. Filled with seemingly pedestrian passages of awkward dinners and Arturo's endless wanderings of his island, Morante deftly tells the delicate story of Arturo's childhood and emergence into ...more
Bit of a "slow burner" this one - I started off quite liking it in a 3.5-4 star way, as the place/characters were beautifully drawn/extended, and although it is "just" a coming-of-age story the writing became better and better as Arturo went through the throes of adolescence and it built to a highly satisfying conclusion, so I closed the book realising that it had sneakily won me over to be a 5-Star Favourite!
Aug 13, 2017 marked it as wishlist-italy  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Five Books
Morante makes Arturo's coming of age on a small island in the Bay of Naples something very nearly mythic. Savored and enjoyed.
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-fiction
Arturos Island is a heart-warming, yet troubled coming-of-age story covering two years in the life of the protagonist from age 14 to 16. As such, it affords author Elsa Morante ample opportunity to incorporate all necessary coming-of-age ingredients, from exquisite and charming naiveté of how the grown-up world works, to a wrenching education in reality.

Arturo has lived on Procida, a remote island in the Bay of Naples, all his life. His mother died in childbirth, and his father, Wilhelm, is a
Ken Ryu
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Morante offers this version of the coming-of-age narrative. The story centers on a young boy, Arturo, growing up on a small Italian island. Her voice is pitch perfect. The narration is told from the viewpoint of Arturo as he recollects his childhood and struggles with becoming a man. He is motherless. For his formative years, he is predominately raised by a male servant, Silvestro, while his wanderlust father leaves for long stretches on travel. He lives in a small ramshackle castle sorely in ...more
Scott Cox
Arturo, cest moi! once exclaimed Italian author Elsa Morante. She was referencing the adolescent male hero of Arturos Island. I wouldnt recommend this novel if you want likable protagonists. Indeed, more than once I wanted to slam the book down due to its misogynist and vacuous main characters. I even succumbed to scribbling arrogant ass once in a marginal side note. Yet it would also be unfair to judge the novel solely on irritating characters. I did succumb to reading the novel not only in ...more
Lisa Cobb Sabatini
At times disturbing, at times very moving, Arturo's Island by Elsa Morante, translated into English by Anna Goldstein, is a fascinating study of a young man reared by a frequently absent father. As Arturo narrates the story of his childhood in a small Italian island, readers experience wonder, frustration, sadness, disappointment, and hope.
I have never read, not am I able to do so, this novel in its original Italian, and, for me, the translator, together with the author, created beautiful,
Gary Colquhoun
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This novel was actually far better, I feel, than the translation delivers. A lot of the language is stilted, and there were many sections that left me confused -I get that novels can have elements and references that dont move easily between cultures, but I am now convinced that the problem here was more about the translator than any cultural leaps. Ann Goldstein also translated the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante, and I had the same reaction to them - they seemed to have been translated ...more
I'm not sure how to rate this really.

I enjoyed the opening and ending sections- the introduction to the island was beautifully written and the final denouement quite moving. However, I got really bogged down in the middle.

It's a curious text-both Wilhelm and Arturo express incredibly misogynistic attitudes towards women, that are never really challenged. This is not helped by the way in which women are presented- N. as submissive and 'saintly'; Arturo's lover as sexually knowing and assertive.
Anne Goodwin
... the climax, when Arturo discovers where his fathers real affection lies, is underwhelming to modern tastes, while the overblown style stretches the story to twice the length it needs to be. But others have praised this coming-of-age story with themes of toxic masculinity, misogyny, Oedipal conflict and jealousy ...
Full review
When the wanderer returns: Older Brother & Arturos Island
Irina Pennestrì
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I so loved the accurate use of language, the amazing description of landscapes outside and inside the characters. If the book didn't have its cover I could never be able to determine the writer was a woman! And I fell in love with Arturo Gerace since the very first much that in the end I couldn't accept we had to part! I really loved this book!
I really liked Morante's prose and the story itself felt very dream-like and nostalgic. The novel's theme is similar to Call me by your name (a romance with a background of an idyllic, eternal summer) which I'm a big fan of, but at the same time Morante's writing style is unique and very enjoyable.
4,5/5 stars
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and tragic, this book will rip your heart out but not in a brutal way. The island is exquisitely described and the characters are fully alive in their decaying orbits around the crumbling old house. Not to be missed. Once you're done, read everything Morante ever wrote. Worth it.
I wish you could give half starsthis book was some where between 'I liked it' and 'I really liked it'. I enjoyed following the story of Arturo and his upbringing. Often times I found myself feeling bad for him and at the same time wanting him to grow-up. ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow start, but eventually became completely enchanting, full of melancholy and longing.
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
elsa morante walked so that elena ferrante could run
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Elsa Morante married the novelist Alberto Moravia in 1941, and through him she met many of the leading Italian thinkers and writers of the day.

She 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

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“Quelli come te, che hanno due sangui diversi nelle vene, non trovano mai riposo né contentezza; e mentre sono là, vorrebbero trovarsi qua, e appena tornati qua, subito hanno voglia di scappar via. Tu te ne andrai da un luogo all’altro, come se fuggissi di prigione, o corressi in cerca di qualcuno; ma in realtà inseguirai soltanto le sorti diverse che si mischiano nel tuo sangue, perché il tuo sangue è come un animale doppio, è come un cavallo grifone, come una sirena. E potrai anche trovare qualche compagnia di tuo gusto, fra tanta gente che s’incontra al mondo; però, molto spesso, te ne starai solo. Un sangue-misto di rado si trova contento in compagnia: c’è sempre qualcosa che gli fa ombra, ma in realtà è lui che si fa ombra da se stesso, come il ladro e il tesoro, che si fanno ombra uno con l’altro.” 40 likes
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