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Nei Malavoglia (1881) Verga si immerge nella realtà locale di un paese siciliano, Aci Trezza, e racconta la semplice e rissosa quotidianità in cui vivono i Toscano, detti appunto i Malavoglia. Avvertendo come poco espressive le realtà borghesi, Verga cerca di rompere l'impianto romanzesco classico, reinventando le regole del gioco narrativo per dare spazio alla coralità de Nei Malavoglia (1881) Verga si immerge nella realtà locale di un paese siciliano, Aci Trezza, e racconta la semplice e rissosa quotidianità in cui vivono i Toscano, detti appunto i Malavoglia. Avvertendo come poco espressive le realtà borghesi, Verga cerca di rompere l'impianto romanzesco classico, reinventando le regole del gioco narrativo per dare spazio alla coralità dei personaggi, ritratti nella loro vitale specificità. Questa edizione mette in luce la storia e la formazione del testo attraverso i successivi progetti e abbozzi dell'autore. L'ampio commento a piè di pagina, oltre a spiegazioni letterali e notazioni intertestuali, sottolinea l'organizzazione delle sequenze e la funzione dei motivi, individua le voci principali del romanzo e i controcanti interni, fornisce gli elementi per comprendere i congegni della macchina narrativa.


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Nei Malavoglia (1881) Verga si immerge nella realtà locale di un paese siciliano, Aci Trezza, e racconta la semplice e rissosa quotidianità in cui vivono i Toscano, detti appunto i Malavoglia. Avvertendo come poco espressive le realtà borghesi, Verga cerca di rompere l'impianto romanzesco classico, reinventando le regole del gioco narrativo per dare spazio alla coralità de Nei Malavoglia (1881) Verga si immerge nella realtà locale di un paese siciliano, Aci Trezza, e racconta la semplice e rissosa quotidianità in cui vivono i Toscano, detti appunto i Malavoglia. Avvertendo come poco espressive le realtà borghesi, Verga cerca di rompere l'impianto romanzesco classico, reinventando le regole del gioco narrativo per dare spazio alla coralità dei personaggi, ritratti nella loro vitale specificità. Questa edizione mette in luce la storia e la formazione del testo attraverso i successivi progetti e abbozzi dell'autore. L'ampio commento a piè di pagina, oltre a spiegazioni letterali e notazioni intertestuali, sottolinea l'organizzazione delle sequenze e la funzione dei motivi, individua le voci principali del romanzo e i controcanti interni, fornisce gli elementi per comprendere i congegni della macchina narrativa.

30 review for I Malavoglia

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    "Il mare è amaro e il marinaro muore in mare." Family life in a Sicilian 19th century village is a long thread of sadly true proverbs. Whatever dreams the family Malavoglia (nomen est omen) cultivates over three generations, they see them destroyed one way or another. Bittersweet experience is expressed in sayings that reflect both their vicinity to the all-encompassing Mediterranean and their community of poor, uneducated fisher families. At the same time, there is a universal element in the fa "Il mare è amaro e il marinaro muore in mare." Family life in a Sicilian 19th century village is a long thread of sadly true proverbs. Whatever dreams the family Malavoglia (nomen est omen) cultivates over three generations, they see them destroyed one way or another. Bittersweet experience is expressed in sayings that reflect both their vicinity to the all-encompassing Mediterranean and their community of poor, uneducated fisher families. At the same time, there is a universal element in the family saga. The fall of the Malavoglias takes place without much of a rise before, which is more realistic than the common tales of grandeur that provoke a painful collapse. The Malavoglia family saga is one of love and detachment on a smaller scale, a tale of people who dream of getting away from the narrow world of the Sicilian village but also feel their roots strongly. As one character reflects on matrimony: if you are in it, you dream of escaping, if you are outside it, you dream of entering it. That goes for the small community as a whole. In the end, life goes on. Some leave, others stay. Some get married, others remain alone. All of them have good times and bad times, and they are united in their poverty and their dream to escape. The question is whether they wouldn't be nostalgic for their village poverty, should they ever be able to gain some wealth? They would have the proper proverb to express that dilemma, I am sure.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    A step back in time. The author, born in 1823, published this book in 1880 and the story begins in 1863. So we are in Italy at the time of the American Civil War. More properly, we are in Sicily at about the time that Sicily was being incorporated into Italy. Verga was a realist author who is clearly trying to show us the hard lives of these common people, a fishing family. Meet the Malavoglia family. The introduction gives us a hint of what is to come when we are told that the family name means A step back in time. The author, born in 1823, published this book in 1880 and the story begins in 1863. So we are in Italy at the time of the American Civil War. More properly, we are in Sicily at about the time that Sicily was being incorporated into Italy. Verga was a realist author who is clearly trying to show us the hard lives of these common people, a fishing family. Meet the Malavoglia family. The introduction gives us a hint of what is to come when we are told that the family name means “ill will’ (although Wiki translates it as “the reluctant ones”). As the story opens, fate has already taken its toll. A widow lives with her father-in-law, himself a widower, and her several children. Little by little tragedy continues to strike. (view spoiler)[The family tries to use their fishing boat (ironically named Providence) to make some money shipping grain. A storm destroys the ship and the eldest son is lost. The loss of the cargo puts them in debt for the rest of their lives. They lose the house by the medlar tree. Another son, drafted into the army, dies at war. The mother dies of cholera and the oldest daughter takes over running the household. The youngest daughter runs off to become a prostitute. The remaining son becomes an alcoholic and goes to prison for smuggling. The dream of earning back their house keeps the father and the eldest grand-daughter slaving away the rest of their lives. According to customs of the day, the eldest daughter (the widower’s grand-daughter) who has no dowry, is so dishonored by the actions of her run-away sister and her imprisoned brother that she feels she can never marry even though she has a suitor. (hide spoiler)] The story takes place in small village where life revolves around constant and stifling gossip about money and marriage: who has money, who has land; who is in debt; who is courting whom; who is honorable or dishonorable; who will or will not get their father’s permission to marry whom. And, by the way, the richest landowners comprise the town council. The men participate in this gossip as much as the women. The message the reader gets from this story is “life is a bitch and then you die” and it’s clear that is the message this realist author intended to convey. Despite the age of the book, the translation is in a modern style. It was a good engaging story and it kept my attention all the way through. A half-dozen translations into English are available and the plot was the basis for a movie, so that also tells us it’s a good story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

    Considering his many self-revealing reviews here at goodreads, this novel would remind you of k.d.'s life and times. He'll be Alessio here, the youngest son of the Malavoglia family who had witnessed the family's harrowing trials and tribulations before growing up and later somehow reestablishing the family's pride by doing something to a house--in Alessio's case, by repurchasing their House by the Medlar Tree; in k.d.'s case, by rebuilding the family's House by the Mango Tree. The middle son in Considering his many self-revealing reviews here at goodreads, this novel would remind you of k.d.'s life and times. He'll be Alessio here, the youngest son of the Malavoglia family who had witnessed the family's harrowing trials and tribulations before growing up and later somehow reestablishing the family's pride by doing something to a house--in Alessio's case, by repurchasing their House by the Medlar Tree; in k.d.'s case, by rebuilding the family's House by the Mango Tree. The middle son in this novel, Luca, became a soldier just like the middle son in k.d.'s family who was a US navyman. In both families, the fictive and the real one, the second children were girls who were both childless. Both eldest sons were boys who were tormented by philosophical thoughts about life and succumbed to vices. The setting of this novel is Aci Trezza, in Sicily (Italy), a small coastal village where everybody knows everybody; where conversations are interspersed with sayings and proverbs; where the houses are built of humble materials and are very close to each other so that they know what their neighbors are doing, cooking or eating twenty-four hours a day; and where people die in the same house they were born. This was in the 1860's. Exactly a century later, k.d.'s family--k.d. then already a young boy like Alessio--moved from the city to a small coastal/fishing town just like Aci Trezza. I gave this five stars because those who had read and reviewed this in its original Italian also mostly gave this five stars (look them up in the book's other title, "I, Malavoglia"). It must have been really beautiful in its original language although this 1985 translation by Judith Landry which I used is very good too (other than this, there was its first English translation in 1890, a 1950 English translation by Eric Mosbacher, and Raymond Rosenthal's English translation in 1964. D.H. Lawrence, who had translated two other books by Verga, did not translate this as he found it "intentionally overwrought."). In addition, this also reinforced by belief that it is really fiction(like this novel) which is stranger than the truth (like k.d.'s life story). In fact, this book is even like k.d.'s reviews here a goodreads: a.with a lot of misspelled words brought about by haste and uncorrected typos; and b. confusing characters, yet if you get though these minor aggravations, you'll find yourself racing excitedly towards the end, like I did here when I couldn't stop reading until it was almost one o'clock in the morning the next day. But are these only how this novel mirrors k.d.'s personal history? Will he, like Giovanni Verga, write and get published in the future? Will his work be met with an initial lukewarm reception only to be considered great literature many years later like this novel? A portion of the chronology of Verga's life given in the later part of this book reads: "1881 - 'I Malavoglia' is published. Verga is disappointed by its lack of success. Begins an affair with countess Dina Castellazi, who is married and in her twenties. It lasts most of his life." Was this something purely of the past this time, or was this a similar past projecting the future? Only time will tell.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I have to admit I'm pretty partial to this book, because it takes place in the outskirts of Catania in Sicily. I lived there for 7 and a half months, so I was predisposed to love this book. The author is also from from the area, and I think it captures Sicilianness better than anything I've read - an admittedly small sample. Giovanni Verga is the pioneer of the "verismo" movement so popular in Italy around the turn of the 20th century. The most popular products of the movement are the great opera I have to admit I'm pretty partial to this book, because it takes place in the outskirts of Catania in Sicily. I lived there for 7 and a half months, so I was predisposed to love this book. The author is also from from the area, and I think it captures Sicilianness better than anything I've read - an admittedly small sample. Giovanni Verga is the pioneer of the "verismo" movement so popular in Italy around the turn of the 20th century. The most popular products of the movement are the great operas of Leoncavallo - think "I Pagliacci." Verismo means "truism," and the movement basically amounts to realism with an ironic dash of Italian melodrama. "I Malavoglia" is the heart-wrenching story of a poor Sicilian family of fishermen. It's a story of futility and fatalism - not exactly a pick-me-up, but certainly has an element of truth. I was at the height of a 21-year old optimism when I opened this book, and it helped bring me down to earth. It was at this time that I came to see that bad things happen to good people. Life is not a meritocracy, however much we like to think it is, and tribulations will befall us all. The book also has some great use of symbolism and other literary devices. Since I read it in Italian, I can't vouch for this or any English translation. I'm also not sure why the title is translated as "House by the Medlar Tree." "I Malavoglia" is the name of the family, and it means "unwillingness." I guess that's hard to capture in English, since we don't generally have commonplace words for surnames. If you do read it in Italian, be warned that there is a lot of Sicilian dialect. It was difficult for me even though my Italian was much better then than it is now, and I had lived in the region only a year or so earlier.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Alaska)

    In his "A Note on the Translation", Raymond Rosenthal states: A number of explanations will help to clarify the text of this translation, which has tried to remain as close as possible to the immediate, unliterary flavor of the original. Malavoglia means "Ill-will", and this nickname bestowed by the community on Master 'Ntoni's family has, like all the important names in this carefully wrought novel, a consciously sought ironic overtone.I add the bolding on the word unliterary because this was s In his "A Note on the Translation", Raymond Rosenthal states: A number of explanations will help to clarify the text of this translation, which has tried to remain as close as possible to the immediate, unliterary flavor of the original. Malavoglia means "Ill-will", and this nickname bestowed by the community on Master 'Ntoni's family has, like all the important names in this carefully wrought novel, a consciously sought ironic overtone.I add the bolding on the word unliterary because this was so much of my problem in reading this novel. It simply doesn't flow in the ways I have become used to, not even as I am comfortable with many 19th Century works. I had to work harder than I wanted to work and I was further somewhat distracted by outside influences. (It is the week of the 2020 US Presidential election.) At the same time, one of the first things I noticed about the writing is that it has a certain cadence that made me feel as if I was with the people on the page. There are some funny parts. I am not one to laugh out loud and yet I found a sentence or two that did just that for me. There are a lot of proverbs - Master 'Ntoni often mouthed them - and there were phrases that apparently were in common parlance. ... poor Silkworm was between the hammer and the anvil when we might say between a rock and a hard place, for example. ..."As the saying is, 'the less you want on earth, the richer you are' It's better to be content than always lament." Young people were expected to marry and the girls had to have a dowry. But Ever since they'd put the idea of marriage into his head, Brasi hadn't given him a moment of peace and chased after all the women like a cat in January ... There are a lot of characters. In fact, there is a character list two pages long which I marked with a sticky for reference as needed. And I did need that sticky! I kept forgetting who was who among the supporting cast of the town. I note above that I felt as if I was with the people and yet I cannot say that the characterizations of even the major characters is especially well done. What is well done is the characterization of the town of Aci Trezza and I think (or at least I hope) that is what Verga was trying to accomplish. There are many images online of this place and before I had finished reading I took a moment to look at them. This is not a long novel - the edition I read has just 258 pages. One thing that struck me at about page 175 or so is that this would make a marvelous movie - maybe better than it does a novel. Because I had to work a bit harder than I wanted, it took me longer to get to the last page than other books of the same length. By the last page, I was glad I was willing to do so. I was surprised beyond measure that the ending was a bit emotional for me. I had not realized how much I'd come to feel for the Malavoglia family when I never felt the characterizations were especially well done. Again, this wasn't a time when I wanted to have to concentrate, to have to work at a novel. Perhaps this is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Yesterday I was ready to say this is at best a middlin' 3-stars. Today, when I've read the last page, it has moved solidly into 4-stars for me. I am still somewhat surprised to be writing that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    George

    An engaging, interesting story of a Sicilian fishing family living in a small village coming on hard times in the mid 1800s. The family is tightly held together by their belief in old traditions and patriarchal customs. Padron Ntoni and his family own a fishing boat and a house by the Medlar tree. They attempt to improve their life by undertaking a commercial cartage contract that fails due to poor weather conditions, leaving them in debt to the local money lender. A son goes off to war and a da An engaging, interesting story of a Sicilian fishing family living in a small village coming on hard times in the mid 1800s. The family is tightly held together by their belief in old traditions and patriarchal customs. Padron Ntoni and his family own a fishing boat and a house by the Medlar tree. They attempt to improve their life by undertaking a commercial cartage contract that fails due to poor weather conditions, leaving them in debt to the local money lender. A son goes off to war and a daughter leaves the village. The characters are well developed and there is good plot momentum. The reader gains a good idea of what life was like in a small village community in the mid 1800s. A worthwhile read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Valeria Beccari

    I don't even... No. I really really didn't like it. It was a total mess in my opinion... And it was so bad to me that I had to drop it after just five chapters. Being Italian I read it in the original language and writing style of the author's time. Why was it so bad, you ask? if I have to stop at every paragraph to reread the sentence just above four time before understanding it, I'm sorry but 'masterpiece' or not, I can't appreciate it. To say the truth I had to read this book for my summer hol I don't even... No. I really really didn't like it. It was a total mess in my opinion... And it was so bad to me that I had to drop it after just five chapters. Being Italian I read it in the original language and writing style of the author's time. Why was it so bad, you ask? if I have to stop at every paragraph to reread the sentence just above four time before understanding it, I'm sorry but 'masterpiece' or not, I can't appreciate it. To say the truth I had to read this book for my summer holidays' school homework: everyone it's kind of annoyed when it comes to read for obligation and not for pleaser, but this never happened to me: I love to read, may it be a slice of life work, a poem or a tale. I love book in their highest definition. BUT THIS ONE? Nuop. There is also one thing to say that I find quite hilarious; it happened that when I had to express a judgment on the book to an adult who studies literature I sincerely said 'I disliked most of it... And i barely finished the fifth chapter'. He was left speechless, he thought I was joking and expected me to laugh or something... I don't really know. He began to say something like 'Classics are called like that because they are masterpieces, they have given a start to a new era'. ... THEN WHAT. I know that this book was uncommon in Verga's era, and I also know that he gave birth to a literature period that was almost revolutionary. But that doesn't mean that I have to like it just because it's a classic. Maybe it's a dunk example, but let's just take Aristoteles. He was a genius, a total reference to every subject, he was a CLASSIC... But if we were to take him as reference today we will find most of what he says to be total nonsense and very distant to our reality. So. Verga is my Aristoteles: he is a good author but for me he belongs to a different time and époque; he can say important things but that doesn't mean that it's up to date. Meh wasn't understood in his lifetime, and now I kind of see why. But then again. Just my opinion. Maybe I'm too immature and my eighteen years of life have taught me little... De gustibus :) Have a nice day :9

  8. 5 out of 5

    El

    Not surprisingly, this Sicilian novel is not one for boosting one's poor attitude about life. This is the story of the Malavoglia family in a small fishing village on the east coast of Sicily in the 1860s. Their livelihood through fishing is threatened when their family boat is destroyed, and the family struggles to make ends meet. I consider John Irving the king of writing stories about lives that fall apart, but then fall spectacularly apart even more before the story has even reached its clima Not surprisingly, this Sicilian novel is not one for boosting one's poor attitude about life. This is the story of the Malavoglia family in a small fishing village on the east coast of Sicily in the 1860s. Their livelihood through fishing is threatened when their family boat is destroyed, and the family struggles to make ends meet. I consider John Irving the king of writing stories about lives that fall apart, but then fall spectacularly apart even more before the story has even reached its climax. I'm curious to know if Irving ever read this book, for the tone felt much the same. I wanted to like this book more, but something about it didn't quite jive with me. It's well-written, it's a wonderful story, it's fully Italian... yet... except for the last chapter I found my mind wandering more than it probably should have.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Free download available at [email protected] Opening lines: ONCE the Malavoglia were as numerous as the stones on the old road to Trezza; there were some even at Ognino and at Aci Castello, and good and brave seafaring folk, quite the opposite of what they might appear to be from their nickname of the Ill-wills, as is but right. In fact, in the parish books they were called Toscani; but that meant nothing, because, since the world was a world, at Ognino, at Trezza, and at Aci Castello they had been Free download available at [email protected] Opening lines: ONCE the Malavoglia were as numerous as the stones on the old road to Trezza; there were some even at Ognino and at Aci Castello, and good and brave seafaring folk, quite the opposite of what they might appear to be from their nickname of the Ill-wills, as is but right. In fact, in the parish books they were called Toscani; but that meant nothing, because, since the world was a world, at Ognino, at Trezza, and at Aci Castello they had been known as Malavoglia, from father to son, who had always had boats on the water and tiles in the sun.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rosemarie

    This book tells the story of the Malavoglia family and of the Sicilian fishing village they call home. The characters in this novel are portrayed realistically and vividly as they deal with petty and serious issues-everything from gossip and flirting to grinding poverty and the cholera. The book chronicles the fall of the Malavoglias, a hardworking contented family living in the House by the Medlar Tree at the beginning of the novel. In the course of the novel they suffer a series of tragedies t This book tells the story of the Malavoglia family and of the Sicilian fishing village they call home. The characters in this novel are portrayed realistically and vividly as they deal with petty and serious issues-everything from gossip and flirting to grinding poverty and the cholera. The book chronicles the fall of the Malavoglias, a hardworking contented family living in the House by the Medlar Tree at the beginning of the novel. In the course of the novel they suffer a series of tragedies that change their lives forever. The members of the village are a constant and vivid presence in the book as we see their lives and relationships change as well in the span of eight years.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stefania

    I read I Malavoglia during the lockdown, on Skype/Whatsapp/Facetime with my sister (tbf, she read 4/5 of the book to me and I read the other 1/5 to her). Although it focuses on the story of the family Malavoglia (a family of 5 children, 2 parents and a granddad), it is more the story of the small Sicilian fishermen village Aci Trezza, in the 1840s. At the beginning, it was quite hard to keep track of all the names and nicknames of various people in the village, so we were glad that we could count I read I Malavoglia during the lockdown, on Skype/Whatsapp/Facetime with my sister (tbf, she read 4/5 of the book to me and I read the other 1/5 to her). Although it focuses on the story of the family Malavoglia (a family of 5 children, 2 parents and a granddad), it is more the story of the small Sicilian fishermen village Aci Trezza, in the 1840s. At the beginning, it was quite hard to keep track of all the names and nicknames of various people in the village, so we were glad that we could count on each other's memory. The story of the villagers of Aci Trezza is told as a big gossip: you might read a 20-page chapter and get just a tiny bit of information about one of the Malavoglias, but you read instead all the gossip about Santuzza and Filippo, zio Crocifisso and La Vespa, and so on. I really liked this way of telling the story, because in the almost 10 years of the story, you get to know everyone and you feel like you are part of the village too. The book I malavoglia is part of the unfinished "Ciclo dei vinti" (cycle of the defeated), a series of 5 novels in which Verga wanted to tell stories of people fighting to improve their position in their society. In this book, the main theme is the fight for survival, as the family has to recover from a big debt following an unlucky investment and family tragedies. Verga is one of the main exponents of the Italian Verismo (realism), and it was definitely a change compared to what I usually read. The misadventures of the family felt almost cruel to me, but I also felt that they were inevitable, which made it even more sad. I really appreciated the style too, with some phrases and considerations that were very poetic, especially those voiced through our favourite character, Padron 'Ntoni.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Fantastic storyline with real depth, a realist novel focusing on the dangers of social and economic upheaval. The narrative is objective and there is an extensive use of dialogue, which gives a rich description of the setting. The plot is compelling, a family of fishermen take a gamble to better their situation by getting into debt and end up loosing their house and disintegrating by suffering a series of setbacks. Three generations of the family are covered. Verga’s major theme in this novel is Fantastic storyline with real depth, a realist novel focusing on the dangers of social and economic upheaval. The narrative is objective and there is an extensive use of dialogue, which gives a rich description of the setting. The plot is compelling, a family of fishermen take a gamble to better their situation by getting into debt and end up loosing their house and disintegrating by suffering a series of setbacks. Three generations of the family are covered. Verga’s major theme in this novel is that hard work and rectitude do not ensure one’s progress or indeed survival in society. Social changes, materialism and political pressures play a large part in determining what happens in life: the individual is mostly powerless, isolated, and buffeted to and fro by these outside forces. In the village of Aci Trezza in the Province of Catania lives the Toscano family, who, although extremely hardworking, has been nicknamed (for antiphrasis) the Malavoglia (The Reluctant Ones). The head of the family is Padron Ntoni, a widower, who lives at the house by the medlar tree with his son Bastian (called Bastianazzo, despite his being anything but tall), and the wife of the latter called Maria (nicknamed Maruzza la Longa). Bastian has five children: Ntoni, Luca, Filomena (Mena), Alessio (called Alessi) and Rosalia (Lia). The main source of income is la Provvidenza (the Providence), which is a small fishing boat. In 1863, Ntoni, the eldest of the children, leaves for the military service. To try to make up for the loss of income which his absence will cause, Padron Ntoni attempts a business venture and buys a large amount of lupins. The load is entrusted to his son Bastianazzo, the plan being to sell them in Riposto to make a profit. However, Bastianazzo and the merchandise are tragically lost during a storm. Following this misfortune, the family finds themselves with a triple misfortune: the debt caused by the lupins which were bought on credit, the Providence to repair, and the loss of Bastianazzo, an important and loved member of the family. Having finished his military service, Ntoni returns to the laborious life of his family very reluctantly, having seen the riches and splendour outside his small village, and does not represent any support to the already precarious economic situation of his family. The family’s misfortunes are far from over. Luca, one of Padron Ntoni’s grandsons, dies at the battle of Lissa, which leads to the breaking off of the betrothal of Mena to Brasi Cipolla. The debt from the lupin venture causes the family to lose their beloved “Casa del Nespolo” – the house by the medlar tree, and gradually the reputation of the family worsens until they reach humiliating levels of poverty. A further wreck of the Providence leaves Padron Ntoni near death, although fortunately he manages to recover. Later Maruzza, his daughter-in-law, dies of cholera. The firstborn, Ntoni, decides to go away from the village to seek his fortune, only to return destitute. He loses any desire to work, turning to alcoholism and idleness. The departure of Ntoni had forced the family to sell the Providence to get the money needed to get back the Casa del Nespolo, which had never been forgotten. The mistress of the osteria, Santuzza, who is already coveted by the sharkish Don Michele, becomes infatuated with Ntoni, serving him for free in the tavern. The conduct of Ntoni and the lamentations of her father convince her to turn her emotions from him, and to return to Don Michele. This leads to a brawl between the two; a brawl that results in the stabbing of Don Michele in the chest by Ntoni during an anti-smuggling raid. Ntoni ends up in prison. At his trial, after hearing rumours about a relationship between Don Michele and his granddaughter Lia, Padron Ntoni passes out and falls to the ground. Now old, his conversation is disjointed and he recites his proverbs without much awareness of what is going on. Lia, the younger sister, becomes the victim of vicious village gossip, runs away and becomes a prostitute. Mena, because of the shameful situation of her sister, feels that she cannot marry Alfio, even though they love each other, and instead remains at home to care for Alessi and Nunziata’s children. Alessi, the youngest of the brothers, has remained a fisherman and with hard work manages to rebuild the family fortunes to the point at which they can repurchase the house by the medlar tree. Having bought the house, what is left of the family visits the hospital where the old Padron Ntoni is being kept, to inform him of the good news and to announce his imminent return home. It is the last moment of happiness for the old man, who dies on the day he was to return. Even his desire to die in the house where was born is never granted. When Ntoni is released from prison and comes back to the village, he realises that he cannot stay because of all that he has done. He has excluded himself from his family by systematically denouncing their values.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bob Newman

    Sicilian Closeup A tale of the decline, fall, and at last, rebirth of the unlucky Malavoglia family in a small Sicilian hamlet by the sea, Verga's novel of Sicilian village life in the 1860s and `70s is told with considerable warmth, some humor, and a fistful of proverbs. No individual is the focus and psychological depth is completely lacking. Rather, we read about a number of villagers---relatives, suitors, neighbors, town characters---and the story itself dominates. Though I've visited Sicily, Sicilian Closeup A tale of the decline, fall, and at last, rebirth of the unlucky Malavoglia family in a small Sicilian hamlet by the sea, Verga's novel of Sicilian village life in the 1860s and `70s is told with considerable warmth, some humor, and a fistful of proverbs. No individual is the focus and psychological depth is completely lacking. Rather, we read about a number of villagers---relatives, suitors, neighbors, town characters---and the story itself dominates. Though I've visited Sicily, I can't claim any real knowledge of the place. After reading Verga's novel, I felt I'd re-visited the island, seen behind the tourist facade and gotten a historical picture. I don't think we can say Verga ranks as one of Italy's or the world's great novelists because we never get inside anyone's head, nor is there much philosophical outlook. But, on the other hand, the story is interesting, with many twists of Fate. It is very realistic, if not deep. The inhabitants of Aci Trezza fill the pages with romances, intrigues, dark deeds, life and death, but because the author refers to them interchangeably by name, nickname, profession (`the barber'), or family title (`aunt, son, daughter, cousin'), it took me a long time to sort out who was who. The house by the medlar tree of the title is the Malavoglia's home, which stands for stability, tradition, and comfort---owning a house gave place and status to the family. Moving away from it was fraught with disaster, and the disaster was the loss of that stability and comfort. What happened to the family, and whether they ultimately repossess the house by the medlar tree is what you will find out if you read the novel. I can't say it is the best novel I've ever read, but as a picture of village life Sicily in the 19th century, it's probably hard to beat, picturesque and full of detail. If you read the book in conjunction with Danilo Dolci's "Sicilian Lives", di Lampedusa's "The Leopard" and Charlotte Gower Chapman's "Milocca", I think you would have a very rich picture of Sicilian life.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Ok, so i'll say it: the first thing that comes to my mind when i think about this book, is torture. This book is my literature nightmare. I had to read it at school, for an assignment. I mean, i was forced to read it at school - and still, i could not finish it. I don't remember much about it, luckily, but...messy plot, too many confusing characters with similar names and, on top of that, the most boring, depressing and uninteresting story i've ever tried to read - and i love to read. Zero connecti Ok, so i'll say it: the first thing that comes to my mind when i think about this book, is torture. This book is my literature nightmare. I had to read it at school, for an assignment. I mean, i was forced to read it at school - and still, i could not finish it. I don't remember much about it, luckily, but...messy plot, too many confusing characters with similar names and, on top of that, the most boring, depressing and uninteresting story i've ever tried to read - and i love to read. Zero connection - neither to the story, nor to the characters. Simply awful. I was 12 or 13 years old at the time - i am 37 years old today and still to this day, whenever i stumble across this book (a simple mention of it is enough), my stomach turns upside down. I would never - never ever, under any circumstance - pick it up again. Nor would i ever try to read anything else written by Verga, for that matter. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stefania

    DNF at page 67 Let's say that I'll save this one for when I am old and wise :P DNF at page 67 Let's say that I'll save this one for when I am old and wise :P

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara Morelli

    3.5 Three words: mai 'na gioia (roughly translated as 'never a joy'). That's it. Also, it gave me an existential crisis that made me question all the choices I ever made in my life, but that's only on me. On a more serious note, I enjoyed it more than I was expecting, and it was more readable than I feared. The story is depressing but I guess that's what realism entails. 3.5 Three words: mai 'na gioia (roughly translated as 'never a joy'). That's it. Also, it gave me an existential crisis that made me question all the choices I ever made in my life, but that's only on me. On a more serious note, I enjoyed it more than I was expecting, and it was more readable than I feared. The story is depressing but I guess that's what realism entails.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Monty Milne

    This wonderful evocation of the life of a poor family of fisherfolk in a Sicilian village is full of sorrow and loss, but also warmth and - to some extent - redemption. At first sight it has absolutely nothing in common with Lampedusa's "The Leopard", apart from the Sicilian setting, yet they both had a similar effect on me, and left me with a not unpleasant blend of melancholy and nostalgia. Maybe all great art does this, or maybe there is something especially Sicilian about it, but it still se This wonderful evocation of the life of a poor family of fisherfolk in a Sicilian village is full of sorrow and loss, but also warmth and - to some extent - redemption. At first sight it has absolutely nothing in common with Lampedusa's "The Leopard", apart from the Sicilian setting, yet they both had a similar effect on me, and left me with a not unpleasant blend of melancholy and nostalgia. Maybe all great art does this, or maybe there is something especially Sicilian about it, but it still seems to me to be curious, considering that Verga and Lampedusa can be so complementary despite coming from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Both novels are really about charting decline and loss and - eventually - learning to live with a different world. I loved the way the characters lard their speech with proverbs, I loved the descriptions of fishing for anchovies, and I loved the portrayal of a close knit, somewhat claustrophobic community. It is not idealised - there are plenty of cheats and gossips - but it is well done, and for all its faults it was surely a better way to live than many do in the west today - alone and isolated in the midst of millions, not knowing anything of those they live alongside. It is not always an easy read - there is an almost fatalistic acceptance of being cheated and exploited, and the tragedies come so thick and fast one feels a bit like a punchbag. Some of the dialogue is quaintly opaque, and the odd names and quirks of the characters can be discomposing. But there are windows opened into the lives of others which help us to see that the lives of these illiterate peasant fisherfolk can be as full of tragedy, love and quiet heroism as the lives of anybody else.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amerynth

    Giovanni Verga's novel "The House by the Medlar Tree" was a really interesting story once it got going. I liked the book overall but it was a very slow read for me. The book is the story of the Malavoglia family, who are poor fishermen in Sicily. A tragic accident sends their fortunes spiraling downward and the family tries repeatedly to climb out of poverty, to return to the place where they started. It was difficult to get into this book at first-- there were a lot of characters and it was hard Giovanni Verga's novel "The House by the Medlar Tree" was a really interesting story once it got going. I liked the book overall but it was a very slow read for me. The book is the story of the Malavoglia family, who are poor fishermen in Sicily. A tragic accident sends their fortunes spiraling downward and the family tries repeatedly to climb out of poverty, to return to the place where they started. It was difficult to get into this book at first-- there were a lot of characters and it was hard to keep everyone straight. I ultimately decided to read it without focusing on characters and just letting the story unfold. About midway through the book, the story really got going and the importance of the characters really sorted itself out. Glad to have continued on, as the book was worth the effort.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sue Reichert

    Also known as I, Malavoglia. Whatever it's known as, I didn't like this at all. Yes, I get the family's struggle with poverty, war and disgrace. Yes, I get the small village mentality (I think the Village should be a character in itself) where everyone knows everyone else. All that is well and good in a book. As I read, however, I felt like I was leaning over the back fence chatting with my neighbors. It was almost embarrassing at times, seeing into other people's lives as the author creates the s Also known as I, Malavoglia. Whatever it's known as, I didn't like this at all. Yes, I get the family's struggle with poverty, war and disgrace. Yes, I get the small village mentality (I think the Village should be a character in itself) where everyone knows everyone else. All that is well and good in a book. As I read, however, I felt like I was leaning over the back fence chatting with my neighbors. It was almost embarrassing at times, seeing into other people's lives as the author creates the story narrated by villager after villager- in dialogue, no less. It was hard to get through. It was slow and repetitive. I guess I can see why it's on the 1001 books to read before one dies, but I would absolutely save this one for last.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Iaconangelo

    I didn't quite understand this book the first time. A movie was made, terra trema, or earthquake; a three hour epic of life in this small Sicilian town during the 50s. The actor were actual residents of the town. So then on beginning this book again, I can better understand the characters, so poor that daily life was a struggle and family structures fractured. I read the translation which may have made this more difficult to understand; Italian to English was not as smooth as the original versio I didn't quite understand this book the first time. A movie was made, terra trema, or earthquake; a three hour epic of life in this small Sicilian town during the 50s. The actor were actual residents of the town. So then on beginning this book again, I can better understand the characters, so poor that daily life was a struggle and family structures fractured. I read the translation which may have made this more difficult to understand; Italian to English was not as smooth as the original version.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Philip Lane

    I'm not sure what the problem is with this book. The subject matter is perfectly acceptable - the struggles of a working class family with property - and the style is realistic. Perhaps it is the translation, the long list of characters and their multiple names, or perhaps it just isn't written very well, but I am afraid this did not grip me. I couldn't associate with anyone and it ground me down, rather like life does the family in the story. I must admit that the ebook version I read had lots I'm not sure what the problem is with this book. The subject matter is perfectly acceptable - the struggles of a working class family with property - and the style is realistic. Perhaps it is the translation, the long list of characters and their multiple names, or perhaps it just isn't written very well, but I am afraid this did not grip me. I couldn't associate with anyone and it ground me down, rather like life does the family in the story. I must admit that the ebook version I read had lots of typos so I didn't read it under ideal circumstances.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martina

    This book is one of the Italian classics of the late 19th century, a realistic depiction of the life of the poor in 19th century Sicily. I had to read it for high school, and remember that it felt so slow that I could hardly read 10 pages a day. Yet the story was interesting (even though very negative), and I think the book is one of those that it's better appreciated by adults than by teenagers. This book is one of the Italian classics of the late 19th century, a realistic depiction of the life of the poor in 19th century Sicily. I had to read it for high school, and remember that it felt so slow that I could hardly read 10 pages a day. Yet the story was interesting (even though very negative), and I think the book is one of those that it's better appreciated by adults than by teenagers.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Deanne

    Set in Sicily, with the story mainly set around the lives of one family within the small village. The Malavoglias have lived in the house by the medlar tree, they make their living fishing and own their boat. Three generations of the family live in the house and the book stretches over at least ten years. The other characters made me smile with the gossip, rivalries and love affairs adding to the story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    G.G.

    Like a Thomas Hardy novel: things start badly, get worse. I learnt a lot from the fascinating essay about Verga's Sicilian novels by Tim Parks, "A Chorus of Cruelty," in Hell and Back: Reflections on Writers and Writing from Dante to Rushdie. Like a Thomas Hardy novel: things start badly, get worse. I learnt a lot from the fascinating essay about Verga's Sicilian novels by Tim Parks, "A Chorus of Cruelty," in Hell and Back: Reflections on Writers and Writing from Dante to Rushdie.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Book Wormy

    The House by the Medlar Tree Giovanni Verga ★★★ This is the story of a Sicilian fishing village and the people who make their lives their, the story largely focusses on the Malavoglia family the family who own the house by the Medlar tree. We follow 3 generations as they adapt to the changing fortunes bought about by reliance on the sea and the goodwill of neighbours. This was an enjoyable family saga but for me it was nothing much to write home about

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leyla

    I don't have the strength to talk about this book. It was exhausting. I mean, it wasn't that bad, it was just slow-paced and boring ...yeah, unbelievably boring. Sometimes, school's really a bitch. And Alfio and Mena don't get married. Grrrrr. [image error] I don't have the strength to talk about this book. It was exhausting. I mean, it wasn't that bad, it was just slow-paced and boring ...yeah, unbelievably boring. Sometimes, school's really a bitch. And Alfio and Mena don't get married. Grrrrr. [image error]

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eadie

    This was an interesting read. There were lots of unique characters which were hard to keep straight at first. The Malavoglia family was the main focus of the novel as they struggled to keep their family together. It was a touching novel that kind of grows on you the further you got into the story. All in all, it was a great look into a small fishing community in Southern Italy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hazem Toutounji

    The narrative did not run as fluidly as Verga's little novels of Sicily translated by D. H. Lawrence. The main problem is that the book is filled with typographic errors and bad typesetting. It was hard to assess whether the lack of coherence at some places is due to bad translation or to those errors. The narrative did not run as fluidly as Verga's little novels of Sicily translated by D. H. Lawrence. The main problem is that the book is filled with typographic errors and bad typesetting. It was hard to assess whether the lack of coherence at some places is due to bad translation or to those errors.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Herschel Stratego

    too many chapters...and they're all the same. what about the flm version? well, it stays true to the text: too many scenes, and they're all the same. skip BOTH the book and movie. school sucks. why do they make us read and watch this shit? it's probably run by Nazis. too many chapters...and they're all the same. what about the flm version? well, it stays true to the text: too many scenes, and they're all the same. skip BOTH the book and movie. school sucks. why do they make us read and watch this shit? it's probably run by Nazis.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alice Domenis

    I read this book in high school and I think I need to read it again for myself. It was a moment in my life when I was quite distracted and everything school was whatever. I remember I liked the story, but analysing it for school was painful.

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