Day 20: Arturo’s Island

Across the first month of 2020, Sophie Baggott is sharing her thirty favourite books by women from across the world. Find out more about her project to read women writers from every country worldwide here.

This is a new translation of Arturo’s Island by Elsa Morante (tr. Ann Goldstein)  – a spectacular novel from Italy  that is so engaging I read it in one day.


a nutshell: told by a young solitary boy who is essentially raising himself on the isolated Neapolitan island of Procida, this is a story of confused adoration and imagination

a line: “If it weren’t for women, existence would be eternal youth, a garden!”

an image: after the affection-starved Arturo observes N kissing her baby son, everything seemed to be kissing – boats, sea & island, air & leaves, sheep & earth

a thought: Arturo’s father leads a mysterious life – one that would perhaps be infinitely simpler if he were to have lived in the 21st century; the book was published in 1957

a fact: this NYT article is a fascinating insight into Morante’s life

want to read Arturo’s Island? visit here

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