Synopses & Reviews
Elsa Morante was born in 1912 to an unconventional family of modest means. She grew up with an independent spirit, a formidable will, and a commitment to writing — she wrote her first poem when she was just two years old. During World War II, Morante and her husband, the celebrated writer Alberto Moravia, were forced to flee occupied Rome — Moravia was half-Jewish (as was she) and wanted by the Fascists — and hide out in a remote mountain hut. After the war, Morante published a series of prize-winning novels, including Arturo's Island and History, a seminal account of the war, which established her as one of the leading Italian writers of her day.
Lily Tuck's elegant and unusual biography also evokes the heady time during the postwar years when Rome was the film capital of the world and Morante's counted among her circle of friends the filmmakers Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luchino Visconti, and the young Bernardo Bertolucci. A charismatic and beautiful woman, Morante had a series of love affairs — most unhappy — as well as friendships with such famous literary luminaries as Carlo Levi, Italo Calvino, and Natalia Ginzburg. As a couple, Morante and Moravia — the Beauvoir-Sartre of Italy — captivated the nation with their intense and mutual admiration, their arguments, and their passion.
Wonderfully researched with the cooperation of the Morante Estate, filled with personal interviews, and written in graceful and succinct prose, Woman of Rome introduces the American reader to a woman of fierce intelligence, powerful imagination, and original talent.
"Written with a charming personal touch....a vital biography bringing to American audiences a writer most will have previously known little about." Booklist (starred review)
"Equal parts literary biography and liberation tract....Rarely have subject and biographer been so aptly matched." Atlantic Monthly
"Tuck's biography is perhaps a promising sign, and Morante is in every way a promising subject: a difficult, prickly, volatile character who for much of her life craved the company of others equally brilliant and combustible. In Tuck she sometimes appears as a case of arrested emotional development, a woman subject to infatuations and resentments of the sort she anatomized in her novels." Robert Moyers, Harper's Magazine
(read the entire Harper's review
The first biography in any language of one of the most celebrated Italian writers of the twentieth century.
About the Author
Lily Tuck is the author of four novels, including the National Book Award winner The News from Paraguay, and Siam, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, and a collection of stories. She divides her time between New York City and Maine.