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La Storia

(La Storia #1-2)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  3,752 ratings  ·  275 reviews
A questo romanzo (pensato e scritto in tre anni, dal 1971 al 1974) Elsa Morante consegna la massima esperienza della sua vita "dentro la Storia" quasi a spiegamento totale di tutte le sue precedenti esperienze narrative: da "L'isola di Arturo" a "Menzogna e sortilegio". La Storia, che si svolge a Roma durante e dopo la seconda guerra mondiale, vorrebbe parlare in un ...more
Paperback, Einaudi tascabili, 668 pages
Published January 28th 1995 by Einaudi (first published 1974)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  3,752 ratings  ·  275 reviews

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Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History continues

'With the present book, I who was born at a time of certain horror (in our 20th Century), I wanted to leave a documented testimony of my direct experience of the Second World War, exposing it as an extreme and bloody example of the total body of history through time. Here is History to you. Just the way it is and just the way we contributed to make it.'

As I was on the verge of embarking on my first foray into Natalia Ginzburgs work All Our Yesterdays, a family novel in the
Ahmad Sharabiani
La storia: romanzo = History, Elsa Morante
History is a novel by Italian author Elsa Morante, generally regarded as her most famous and controversial work. Published in 1974, it narrates the story of a partly Jewish woman, Ida Ramundo, and her two sons Antonio (called "Nino") and Giuseppe ("Useppe") in Rome, during and immediately after the Second World War.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه جولای سال 2004 میلادی

عنوان: تاریخ نویسنده: الزا (السا) مورانته (مرانته) مترجم: منوچهر افسری تهران نیلوفر 1381 رمان در
Jul 23, 2013 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
Roger Brunyate
Jun 16, 2016 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
Cheryl Kennedy
There is no word in the human language capable
of consoling the guinea pigs who do not know
the reason for their death.
....A survivor of Hiroshima

All the seeds failed, except one.
I don't know what it is, but it is
probably a flower and not a weed.
....Prisoner no. 7047 in the Penitentiary of Turi
Jeanette (Again)
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
Feb 27, 2011 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,
Sep 17, 2011 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 ...more
Nov 19, 2008 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.
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
Sidharth Vardhan
It is a difficult book to rate. May be that four star is that Stockalm syndrome showing up it is a big book.

And it feels big; big and slow. Sometimes it appears to be badly edited. There are whole passages that only repeat the things. The prose isnt the best thing but then I read only translation.

Still, it presents a very original worldview. The narrator is like normal omniscient narrators except that she is not omniscient since she is often pointing out things she doesnt know about. Also, she
Feb 07, 2011 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
Toby Newton
Feb 24, 2013 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
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hebraism
Any book that makes one cry at the end is a five star book in my opinion.
Aug 19, 2010 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 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 ...more
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite thing about "History" is the attention the writer has towards the so called minor characters. They don't feel minor. They're just as important as the leading ones. Every character has it's own world and a story to tell. Even though it has moments of joy and beauty, this book is ultimately sad - a tragic story about the atrocities of war. And all the characters are casualties. It makes you feel very small and insignificant in the face of, well, History and time. But also, it's ...more
Mar 20, 2013 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
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.
Francesco Barra
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very long book that, however, you just cant stop reading. The effects of war and political maneuvers are everywhere, in every page, in the many details that Morante reveals. Idas despair is the pain of an entire world and era. Brutal and honest. ...more
Mar 19, 2010 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.
Dec 09, 2009 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 ...more
Larry Bassett
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book originally written in Italian by an Italian about World War 2 in Italy. It is a book that I found as a result of hanging around on the GR site. Another Thank You to GR for that!

This is a book with a 4+ star rating average on GR. Half the ratings are five stars! For me, it didnt reach an overall five star level although it had some peak five star sections. And some tears at the end. However, although I rarely read a book the second time, History could be one of those books that
Vivi Chambel
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are few books that I don't finish within one week. This one took me almost six weeks. It is excellent and brutal. The writing is very good, but also dense and demands a careful reader. This is not a novel to read while sipping wine. Additionally, the story is one of struggle and pain.

At the opening, Ida, a young Italian widow, is raped by a German soldier. The child of the rape, Useppe, along with her older child, Nino, are the focus of Ida's existence. During the war, Nino is nearly an
Nate Merrill
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An unreal achievement; unlike any other historical fiction I've encountered.
Jeneba Charkey
Oct 10, 2014 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 ...more
Aug 03, 2011 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 didnt always flow and really stammered ( if you can say that ) at times ( I too, like
Apr 23, 2015 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 its a worthy read being part of extensive scholarly analysis ...more
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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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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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