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The House of Scorta
Synopses & Reviews
An epic tale of love, lies, and a familys disgrace in the unforgiving south of Italy.
After receiving stunning critical acclaim and Frances most prestigious literary award, the Goncourt Prize, Laurent Gaudés The House of Scorta (published in France as Le Soleil des Scorta) has sold more than 400,000 copies. Spanning five generations in a small village in southern Italy, Gaudés novel is laced with infamous crimes, forsaken loves, and lifelong secrets.
The saga of the Scortas opens in 1870 with Rocco Scorta Mascalzone, the bastard product of a rape and a notorious scoundrel whose legacy the family is forced to confront. While their lineage seems doomed to struggle, the Scortas are blessed with an imposing pride and a relentless faith in their own power. Besides a little tobacco shop they manage to open with their years of savings, their wealth all but lies in their memories and their collective belief in the pursuit of happiness.
Gaudés omniscient, linear narrative is interwoven with the recollections of the old Carmela as she delivers her last confession to the family priest, exposing the familys deep-buried secret.
"Gaud's hiply nostalgic novel (winner of the 2004 Prix Goncourt) follows five generations through their rough-and-tumble existence in the south of Italy. With its deliberately timeless prose style, the book (after The Death of an Ancient King) attempts to be of the times it captures; if Gaud doesn't quite succeed, the effort still has its merits. Beginning in the 1870s and progressing into the 1980s, the book depicts the Scorta family — cursed by its progenitor's criminality to seemingly endless hardship and disrepute. With roots in brigandage and petty thievery, the children of the family labor to win respectability. After an aborted emigration to New York, Carmela and her three brothers open a tobacco shop in the 1930s at home in the village of Montepuccio, start families and learn to embrace the peculiarly mixed blessing of being a Scorta. The book skips through multiple life histories, chronicling the way families change over time and how tradition is preserved. Gaud often moves things along a bit too briskly to let us breathe in the air of the southern Italian landscape, but when he does pull the brake on the ceaselessly clattering narrative — like the Scortas' family picnic at their fishing platform — he proves himself capable of painting a rich canvas. (Jan. 24) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Spanning five generations in a small village in Southern Italy, Gaud's novel is laced with infamous crimes, forsaken loves and lifelong secrets. The epic saga opens in 1870; while their lineage seems doomed to struggle, the Scortas are blessed with an imposing pride and a relentless faith in the individual.
About the Author
Laurent Gaudés first novel, The Death of an Ancient King, was published in almost twenty countries. Also an accomplished playwright, Gaudé found inspiration for The House of Scorta in his wifes family story and through his extensive travels in Italy.
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