L'isola di Arturo
Arturo's Island is a novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 by Italian author
Italian literature
Italian literature is literature written in the Italian language, particularly within Italy. It may also refer to literature written by Italians or in Italy in other languages spoken in Italy, often languages that are closely related to modern Italian....

 Elsa Morante
Elsa Morante
Elsa Morante was an Italian novelist, perhaps best known for her novel La storia .-Biography:...

. Published in 1957, it won the Premio Strega.

Plot synopsis

In the novel, Arturo, a small boy, grows up on the island of Procida
Procida is one of the Flegrean Islands off the coast of Naples in southern Italy. The island is between Cape Miseno and the island of Ischia. With its tiny satellite island of Vivara, it is a comune of the province of Naples, in the region of Campania. The population is about ten...

 in the Bay of Naples. The island is the location of a penitentiary. Arturo lives in a gloomy mansion bequeathed to his father. The boy's education comes from books dedicated to male hero worship and chivalry in the mansion's library. Arturo idolizes his dead mother who died giving birth to him. He worships his tall, blond father, who is often absent. Arturo is a natural athlete who enjoys boating and swimming on the island.

The only creature with whom he can share joy is his dog, Immacolatella
The Immacolatella is an edifice in Naples, Italy. It is the small, old red building at water's edge in the main port of Naples. It is the only such remnant of old Naples still standing at the port. It was, in fact, the old quarantine station and was finished in the 1740s...

. The building of the same name, including its historic fountain, is a famous edifice that stands at the water’s edge at the port of Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

. As Arturo's mother died giving birth to him, his beloved dog dies, giving birth to her only litter of pups.

When Arturo is 14, his father brings home a new bride, Nunziatella, a woman only two years older than Arturo. Hearing his parents make love at night disturbs the boy. Equally disturbing, Arturo discovers that his father has fallen in love with a prisoner in the island's penitentiary.

Soon Arturo falls in love with Nunziatella, who rebukes his sexual advances but craves his affection. She gives birth to a blond child who replaces Arturo in her affections. In the novel's finale, the convict is released from the penitentiary, and Arturo, after a failed suicide attempt
Failed suicide attempt
Failed suicide attempts comprise a large portion of suicide attempts. Some are regarded as not true attempts at all, but rather parasuicide. The usual attempt may be a wish to affect another person by the behaviour. Consequently, it occurs in a social context and may represent a request for help....

, abandons the enchanted island for the mainland.
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