Friday, January 27, 2017

169. The House by the Medlar Tree

The House by the Medlar Tree
Giovanni Verga
1881
Around 250 pages












I have been "reading" this novel for a month now.  It is only 250 pages, but I found it to be so dull that I kept putting off finishing it.  Today I was finally able to check this one off.

Basically, the novel follows the fortunes and misfortunes of the Toscano family.  The head of the family, Padron Ntoni, buys a large amount of lupins.  His son, Bastian, is entrusted with the lupins and sets sail to Riposto to sell them. Tragically, both he and the merchandise are lost in a storm.  I kind of lost interest after that.

Where to begin with my complaints on this one...Let's start with the treatment of women.  They are given zero interesting characteristics and are either referred to as sluts or property.  I know this is a product of the time, but having just reviewed Nana and Portrait of a Lady, it was a bit of a step backward.  I just couldn't relate to a single character in this novel.  They just didn't seem real to me.  When they were upset they would beat their breasts, rip their hair out, and screech for hours.  I am no stranger to the Italian temper (having seen every episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey), but it didn't really strike me as relatable.

Of course, Verga isn't trying to relate to me.  I'm afraid the culture gap was just a bit too wide for me to enjoy this one.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Takes place in Aci Trezza, a Sicilian village near Catania.

UP NEXT: Bouvard and Pecuchet by Gustave Flaubert.  I'm in need of some Flaubert after this.

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