Lies and Sorcery (Paperback)

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Lies and Sorcery By Elsa Morante, Jenny McPhee (Translated by) Cover Image

Lies and Sorcery (Paperback)

By Elsa Morante, Jenny McPhee (Translated by)


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An Italian master's magnum opus about three generations of women and their unhappy marriages, now in the first-gever unabridged English translation.

Elsa Morante is one of the great writers of the twentieth century—Natalia Ginzburg said she was the writer of her own generation that she admired most—and yet her work remains little known in the United States. Morante's celebrated first novel, Lies and Sorcery, written during the war, when Morante, half-Jewish, was living in hiding, and published in 1948, is a sprawling 700-page novel in the grand tradition of Stendhal, Tolstoy, and Proust, spanning the lives of three generations of wildly eccentric women. Set in Sicily, the story is told by Elisa, who, after the sudden death of her parents, was adopted at a young age by a wealthy “fallen woman.” Over the fifteen years that she has lived with her “protectress,” Elisa has retreated into an imaginary world populated by relatives and ancestors. Beginning with the death of Elisa’s guardian, Lies and Sorcery recounts this young woman's attempt to reclaim reality by uncovering the dark details of her family’s tortured and dramatic history. The reader is drawn into a tale, sweeping in scope, of family secrets, of intrigue and treachery, that is also an exploration of political and social injustice. Throughout, Morante’s elegant and elaborate prose as well as her drive to get at the heart of her characters’ complex motivations and relationships and their all-too self-destructive behavior hold us spellbound.

A heavily abridged English translation of Lies and Sorcery came out in the 1950s under the title of House of Lies. Jenny McPhee's new translation is the first complete English rendering of the book that Georg Lukács considered the greatest of modern Italian novels.
Elsa Morante (1912–1985) was an Italian novelist, poet, and translator. She was born in Rome and lived there nearly all her life. In 1941, she published her first collection of stories and married the novelist Alberto Moravia. Morante is best known for her novels Arturo’s Island and La Storia. For her work, she was awarded both the Viareggio Prize and the Strega Prize.

Jenny McPhee is a translator and the author of the novels The Center of Things, No Ordinary Matter, and A Man of No Moon. For NYRB Classics she translted Curzio Malaparte’s The Kremlin Ball and Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon. She is the director for the Center of Applied Liberal Arts at New York University.
Product Details ISBN: 9781681376844
ISBN-10: 1681376849
Publisher: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: August 8th, 2023
Pages: 800
Language: English