HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Aracoeli by Elsa Morante
Loading...

Aracoeli (original 1982; edition 2009)

by Elsa Morante, William Weaver (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1591175,058 (3.45)24
Member:hemlokgang
Title:Aracoeli
Authors:Elsa Morante
Other authors:William Weaver (Translator)
Info:Open Letter Books; Univ of Nebraska Press (2009), Paperback, 311 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:TBR, Open Letter Series, Italy

Work details

Aracoeli : a novel by Elsa Morante (1982)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 24 mentions

English (10)  French (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This book is wonderfully written, but it is also easy to see why some people would dislike it. A quick description of the story would make it sound predictable – from an unhappy present, the narrator thinks back on his childhood and his loving relationship with his long-dead mother Aracoeli, which eventually turned sour. However, the erudite, labyrinthine prose which describes both the arid, dead end life of Emanuele in 1970’s Milan and his pre-WWII childhood sets the book apart. It’s certainly very dense prose, which I think could make it hard going, but I really enjoyed Morante’s writing so everything went by quickly even the present sections, which could be a bit flat (deliberately so). The subject of Aracoeli is similar to the other Morantes that I’ve read – History: A Novel and Arturo’s Island - in that all are about the almost too-close love between a mother (or mother figure) and son(s). However, all have a very different feel even if one can see some similarities. Aracoeli, despite being a realistic story, has a fantastic or hallucinatory quality due to Emanuele’s constant fantasizing, dreaming or obsessing.

The first half of the book switches between Manuele’s empty present life, where he decides to go back to Aracoeli’s Spanish hometown, and the past, where he describes his parents’ anomalous relationship and marriage and their happy life together. The prose is wonderfully vivid and little details, like a servant’s snobbery, the differing character of their neighbors, or Aracoeli’s shopping habits, end up being memorable. Manuele’s father, a naval officer, and Aracoeli, an uneducated peasant girl, have a love at first sight relationship. After she has Manuele, his father moves them to a small house outside of the city until their marriage and removal to a class-appropriate flat. Manuele’s Aunt Monda, a helpful and busy spinster, provides support and teaches Aracoeli how to behave correctly. The narrator recollects their time in the little house as a lost paradise, when he had his mother all to himself. Even when they moved and he had to share her with his father, his life was still happy. He believes Aracoeli loves him less as he grows older and uglier, but their final estrangement starts with some family tragedies and Aracoeli’s increasingly bizarre behavior. The second half of the book stays in the past and depicts Aracoeli’s unhappy end.

Describing the plot can’t really give the feel of the book, with Manuele’s feverish obsessions and dreams, his frequently recurring inside references, occasional disquisitions on fate and unhappiness, and his detailed descriptions of every facet of the only happiness he’s ever known. The juxtaposition between the lengthy, twisting prose and Manuele’s childish self or the mundane events in the 1970’s works well. His present life is very depressing and he only has bad memories of life after Aracoeli. While the prose was still creative and high-flown in these sections, they weren’t as interesting to read. Besides the dead-end feel of the present sections, the other problem I had with the book was a possible interpretation of Manuele’s stunted romantic relationships. Unfortunately, his life seems to fit a negative stereotype of gay men – he turned to men because of a rejecting mother and badly behaving/gross women. Those bits were annoying, but overall this is a very well-written book. Recommended, with the above caveats. ( )
2 vote DieFledermaus | Feb 3, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
i couldn't finish this book. I just couldn't get into. That doesn't mean someone else won't be enthralled. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Oct 16, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really wanted to like this book written by someone with such an interesting life! I have tried several times to read it and cannot go on. My reaction to it has been a kind of depressed boredom. After I got the book, I bought a biography of Morante and found it very interesting. If I figure out what the problem is between me and this book, I will return and update this review. ( )
  jhhymas | Dec 23, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Not quite all the way finished with this book, but I'm intrigued enough with it so far. "Careful" may be the best word to describe it at this point. The language can be a bit overly detailed and formal, but I do think it serves a purpose -- so the complaint may be more peccadillo than anything else. At any rate it formalizes the reading to a certain extent, which is never a bad thing as far as I'm concerned. Still, I'll admit I'm interested in getting my hands on some Morante, esp. "History." ( )
  gwalklin | Nov 5, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really wanted to like this book, but the story never grabbed me. It's a very detailed tale, so if you like well painted scenes and memories, this is the book for you. I didn't have the patience for it during the summer. Perhaps a winter book.
  roniweb | Sep 23, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elsa Moranteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weaver, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Ma mère était andalouse.
Quotations
Last words
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
11 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.45)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 3
2.5 1
3 3
3.5 1
4 9
4.5 1
5 2

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

Aracoeli by Elsa Morante was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 97,925,836 books! | Top bar: Always visible