Literary Fiction

Il dono di Arianna

(Arianna's Gift)

Ugo Guanda Editore, May 2019, pp.208

A new take on and reworking of compelling, eternal Greek myths through its best-known characters, by one of the most important voices in Italian fiction.

Marta Morazzoni enters the hall of divinities and heroes of the Ancient Greek world, and freely interprets mythological stories, although keeping them firmly rooted in Greek soil. She starts with the cities she herself has visited, where rumour has its memorable feats took place: Mycenae, with its fortress inhabited by the king of all kings, Agamemnon, and his cold wife Clytemnestra; Knossos, home of the marvellous palace and dreaded labyrinth; Gytheio, the new abode of hapless lovers Helen and Paris, snatched away from blazing Troy; Thebes, with its seven doors, the birthplace of Alcmene, Oedipus and Jocasta. The author brings back to the surface the charm of these cities – often forgotten or spoilt by tourism – closely linked to what, they say, happened there. And it’s this very “they say” that triggered her desire to invent history, in her own way.

Ugo Guanda Editore, May 2019, pp.208

  • “Her atmosphere reminds us of Hofmannsthal. She has a kind of toughness that makes me think of Blixen: she really is the best there is to read today.”

    Pietro Citati, writer and literary critic

  • “Flaubert-style fiction, overwhelming and satisfying.”

    Mario Soldati, novelist and film director

  • “A writer feeling the breath of the story, fully trusting her non-exhibited culture and offering us the pleasure, so rare, of a an extremely enjoyable reading.”

    Lorenzo Mondo, La Stampa

Marta Morazzoni

Marta Morazzoni (Milan, 1950) teaches literature at a high school. She made her debut in 1986 with La ragazza col turbante (Girl in a Turban), a collection of short stories that achieved clamorous success among critics and readers alike, both in Italy and abroad, where it has been translated into twelve languages. Her other books have been equally successful. Among them are the novels Casa materna (His Mother’s House) (1992, Premio Campiello shortlist award), Il caso Courrier (The Alphonse Courrier Affair) (1997 Premio Campiello award, 2001 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) and Fuoco di Jeanne (Jeanne’s Fire) (2014), a fictionalised biography of Joan of Arc.
Marta Morazzoni’s unconventional narrative stands out for its bare and incisive style – a clear example of literary perfectionism. In 2018, the Premio Fondazione Campiello gave her a lifetime achievement award.

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