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I Malavoglia

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I Malavoglia, pubblicato nel 1881, è il primo romanzo dell'incompiuto ciclo 'I vinti' (che comprende anche Mastro Don Gesualdo), ed è considerato il capolavoro della letteratura verista italiana. Racconta la storia di una famiglia di pescatori di Aci Trezza, paesino nei pressi di Catania, all'indomani dell'Unità d'Italia. In quest'opera Verga supera il bozzettismo veristic I Malavoglia, pubblicato nel 1881, è il primo romanzo dell'incompiuto ciclo 'I vinti' (che comprende anche Mastro Don Gesualdo), ed è considerato il capolavoro della letteratura verista italiana. Racconta la storia di una famiglia di pescatori di Aci Trezza, paesino nei pressi di Catania, all'indomani dell'Unità d'Italia. In quest'opera Verga supera il bozzettismo veristico per contribuire in modo fondamentale alla creazione di una tradizione narrativa realistica in Italia. Lo scrittore offre con questo romanzo uno straordinario affresco della vita popolare siciliana dell'Ottocento, indagata non solo nei suoi aspetti esteriori e materiali, ma anche nelle sue più profonde forme sociali e di pensiero. Il suo attaccamento ai valori più autentici di quella civiltà (la famiglia patriarcale, la casa del nespolo, l'imbarcazione 'La Provvidenza') si accompagna alla condanna dei suoi colpevoli ritardi; ma su tutto domina un pessimismo di fondo, un senso di immobilità e immutabilità dei destini sociali e umani che è in netto contrasto con gli ottimismi trionfanti della borghesia italiana postunitaria. Al testo verghiano si è ispirato anche il registra Luchino Visconti con il suo film del 1948 'La terra trema', una delle opere cinematografiche più importanti del neorealismo italiano. La lettura di Giancarlo Previati, attore di teatro e di cinema, è intensa e di grande impegno interpretativo.(Versione integrale) Questo Audio-eBook è in formato EPUB 3. Un Audio-eBook contiene sia l'audio che il testo e quindi permette di leggere, di ascoltare e di leggere+ascoltare in sincronia. Può essere letto e ascoltato su eReader, tablet, smartphone e PC. Per i requisiti tecnici e una guida alla fruizione potete consultare la GUIDA ALL'AUDIO-EBOOK per utilizzare al meglio questo prodotto. http://support.ultimabooks.it/knowled...


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I Malavoglia, pubblicato nel 1881, è il primo romanzo dell'incompiuto ciclo 'I vinti' (che comprende anche Mastro Don Gesualdo), ed è considerato il capolavoro della letteratura verista italiana. Racconta la storia di una famiglia di pescatori di Aci Trezza, paesino nei pressi di Catania, all'indomani dell'Unità d'Italia. In quest'opera Verga supera il bozzettismo veristic I Malavoglia, pubblicato nel 1881, è il primo romanzo dell'incompiuto ciclo 'I vinti' (che comprende anche Mastro Don Gesualdo), ed è considerato il capolavoro della letteratura verista italiana. Racconta la storia di una famiglia di pescatori di Aci Trezza, paesino nei pressi di Catania, all'indomani dell'Unità d'Italia. In quest'opera Verga supera il bozzettismo veristico per contribuire in modo fondamentale alla creazione di una tradizione narrativa realistica in Italia. Lo scrittore offre con questo romanzo uno straordinario affresco della vita popolare siciliana dell'Ottocento, indagata non solo nei suoi aspetti esteriori e materiali, ma anche nelle sue più profonde forme sociali e di pensiero. Il suo attaccamento ai valori più autentici di quella civiltà (la famiglia patriarcale, la casa del nespolo, l'imbarcazione 'La Provvidenza') si accompagna alla condanna dei suoi colpevoli ritardi; ma su tutto domina un pessimismo di fondo, un senso di immobilità e immutabilità dei destini sociali e umani che è in netto contrasto con gli ottimismi trionfanti della borghesia italiana postunitaria. Al testo verghiano si è ispirato anche il registra Luchino Visconti con il suo film del 1948 'La terra trema', una delle opere cinematografiche più importanti del neorealismo italiano. La lettura di Giancarlo Previati, attore di teatro e di cinema, è intensa e di grande impegno interpretativo.(Versione integrale) Questo Audio-eBook è in formato EPUB 3. Un Audio-eBook contiene sia l'audio che il testo e quindi permette di leggere, di ascoltare e di leggere+ascoltare in sincronia. Può essere letto e ascoltato su eReader, tablet, smartphone e PC. Per i requisiti tecnici e una guida alla fruizione potete consultare la GUIDA ALL'AUDIO-EBOOK per utilizzare al meglio questo prodotto. http://support.ultimabooks.it/knowled...

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. 4 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

    Joyce Lagow

    The House by the Medlar Tree Giovanni Verga Giovanni Verga was a late 19th century Sicilian writer who was one of the wave of Italian literary realists in the verismo tradition. Born in Catania, Sicily in a prosperous Sicilian family, he is nevertheless known for his unsparing depiction of the lives of poor Sicilians The House by the Medlar Tree (I Malavoglia is the title in Italian) recounts the lives of three generations of the Malavoglia family in Aci Trezza, a small fishing village within walk The House by the Medlar Tree Giovanni Verga Giovanni Verga was a late 19th century Sicilian writer who was one of the wave of Italian literary realists in the verismo tradition. Born in Catania, Sicily in a prosperous Sicilian family, he is nevertheless known for his unsparing depiction of the lives of poor Sicilians The House by the Medlar Tree (I Malavoglia is the title in Italian) recounts the lives of three generations of the Malavoglia family in Aci Trezza, a small fishing village within walking distance of Catania (the village is now part of modern Catania), one of Sicily’s principle cities; it is set in 1863, at the time of the unification of Italy under the House of Savoy. The family is headed by the patriarch Padron ‘Ntoni and his wife Maruzza, their son Bastinazzo, and the grandchildren ‘Ntoni, Luca, Mena, Lia, and Alessi. The Malavoglia have their own fishing boat, the Provvidenza, and the family has for generations been fishermen. The novel is an unsentimental description of the struggles of that family to survive. Just as they seem to be getting ahead, bad luck in one form or another or disastrous decisions by Padron ‘Ntoni mires the family in debt which, no matter how hard they struggle, they can not overcome. The house under the medlar tree, the Malavoglia family home for time out of mind, is the symbol for Patron ‘Ntoni of stability and the coherence of the family which is one of the most powerful cultural forces in Sicilian life even today. Through a series of misfortunes, the Malavoglia lose the house and the family comes apart. Verga used dialogue in a remarkably powerful way to tell the story in an unemotional, yet never detached fashion. There is absolutely no romanticizing of the poor in the village, nor of the Malavoglia themselves; the only ones who come out looking anywhere near virtuous are the women, La Longa, Patron ‘Ntoni’s wife, Mena his granddaughter, and Nunziata, a relative. Alfio, a young man in love with mena, is about the only redeeming male character. The rest--‘Ntoni, the oldest grandson, Don Silvestro, La Vespa (aptly named The Wasp), Don Franco, Goosefoot, Uncle Dumb-bell--are narrow-minded, greedy, superstitious and turn on one another as the occasion permits. There is very little solidarity among the poor of this village, with all looking to gain advantage any way they can. There is no happy ending to this tale--there can’t be. There is a promise of hope at the end but no guarantee, since life is what it is: hard, demanding, remorseless and basically indifferent to human beings. The House by the Medlar Tree is considered a masterpiece of Italian literature. Luchino Visconti, one of the giants of Italian film directors, adapted the story to make La Terra Trema (The Earth Trembles). It’s a powerful portrait of life for most Sicilians at that time, burdened by poverty, superstition, petty and not-so-petty quarrels. It’s also easy to read, thanks to Verga’s command of dialogue. Highly recommended.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Free download available at eBooks@Adelaide. 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 eBooks@Adelaide. 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.

  7. 4 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.

  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. 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

  10. 4 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.

  11. 4 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.

  12. 5 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

  13. 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.

  14. 5 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 4 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 5 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 4 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.

  22. 5 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

  23. 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.

  24. 5 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.

  25. 5 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]

  26. 4 out of 5

    Giulia Alayne

    Verga is famous for his realism. Well, this sounded more like a parody to me. It's not terrible, but I didn't enjoy it that much. Too many things happen and the whole story just doesn't make sense to me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alberto

    I tried to read this book that is considered a masterpiece of Italian realism in Italian and in English and I totally failed to finish: it's just a disorderly entanglement of dialogues and characters. Despite trying very hard, I couldn't keep pace and my focus just drifted away no matter what.

  28. 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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fabiana

    A very heavy book, with a disproportionate use of Sicilian dialect that makes reading very difficult and slow.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    DNF 49%

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