Woman of Rome: A Life of Elsa Morante by Lily Tuck
The first biography in any language of one of the most celebrated Italian writers of the twentieth century.
Born in 1912 to an unconventional family of modest means, Elsa Morante grew up with an independent spirit, a formidable will, and an unshakable commitment to writing. Forced to hide from the Fascists during World War II in a remote mountain hut with her husband, renowned author Alberto Moravia, she re-emerged at war's end to take her place among the premier Italian writers of her day. When Rome was film capital of the world, she counted Pasolini, Visconti, and the young Bertolucci among her circle of friends. She was charismatic, beautiful, and fiercely intelligent; her marriage, a passionate union of literary giants, captivated a nation; her love affairs were intense and often tragic. And until now few Americans have known of this remarkable woman and her powerful, original talent.
Born in Paris, LILY TUCK is the author of four previous novels: Interviewing Matisse, or the Woman Who Died Standing Up; The Woman Who Walked on Water; Siam, or the Woman Who Shot a Man, which was nominated for the 2000 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction; and The News from Paraguay, winner of theNational Book Award. She is also the author of the biography Woman of Rome: A Life of Elsa Morante. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker and are collected in Limbo and Other Places I Have Lived. Lily Tuck divides her time between Maine and New York City.
Woman of Rome: A Life of Elsa Morante 3 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
This is a superb and very readable biography of Elsa Morante that really kindled my interest in Morante and Rome in the mid-20th Century. Tuck has a novelist's sharp eye for the most telling and delicious details and seems exceptionally well-matched to her subject. The B&N review above has a couple of quibbles I want to quibble with. First, it's obvious to me that this book never set out to be an exhaustive academic biography or a history of Rome during its cinematic heyday. Rather, Woman of Rome is a life that's elegantly, intelligently, and economically rendered. As such, it serves as a compelling introduction to an important--and intriguing-- writer, one who was on the brink of being forgotten in this country. Secondly, Woman of Rome most certainly DOES have footnotes--they're listed in the back of the book!
More than 1 year ago
This book is more fiction created by the author than substantial scholarly work. To attempt to do a biography of such an important literary figure and then fantasize is an insult not only to the author but to the reader as well.
As a Morante follower, I am very disappointed with Ms. Tuck's boasting about her connections and her audacity to think that she could get any interview she wanted.
Do not bother with this. It is not worth your effort.