|They made a movie out of The House By The Medlar Tree and I bet it was boring as shit.|
The House By The Medlar Tree
by Giovanni Verga
Translated by Raymond Rosenthal
University California Press
Pretty sure I could have died without reading this book. Seems like a kind of charity inclusion on the list of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die to give the Italians some action in the period between 1850 and 1900, because I think this is their only entry. As the introduction by Giovanni Cecchetti makes clear, Verga was an avid follower of developments in the realist novel and kept up with Balzac and then Zola- he literally had the relevant French literary journals and books shipped to Italy to keep up.
The House By The Medlar Tree is a pretty straight forward exploration into the lives of a family of poor Italian fishermen living in a small village in southern Italy. It is also just as fun to read as that description sounds. I haven't gotten so little out of a book in years, it was all I could do just to finish. 19th century realism, and 20th century Japanese films, are the current bane of my existence. But yet... I must endure.