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Agostino (original 1944; edition 1974)
Agostino by Alberto Moravia (1944)
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"A thirteen-year-old boy spending the summer at a Tuscan seaside resort feels displaced in his beautiful widowed mother's affections by her cocksure new companion and strays into the company of some local young toughs and their unsettling leader, a fleshy older boatman with six fingers on each hand. Initially repelled by their squalor and brutality, repeatedly humiliated for his well-bred frailty and above all for his ingenuousness in matters of women and sex, the boy nonetheless finds himself masochistically drawn back to the gang's rough games. And yet what he has learned is too much for him to assimilate; instead of the manly calm he had hoped for he is beset by guilty curiosity and an urgent desire to sever, at any cost, the thread of troubled sensuality that binds him to his mother still. Alberto Moravia's classic and yet still startling portrait of innocence lost was written in 1941 but rejected by Fascist censors and not published until 1944, when it became a best seller and secured the author the first literary prize of his career. Revived here in a sparkling new translation by Michael F. Moore, Agostino is poised to enthrall and astonish a twenty-first-century audience"--
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