The Dust Roads of Monferrato

Rosetta Loy, Author Knopf Publishing Group $20 (249p) ISBN 978-0-394-58849-0
Winner of Italy's Viareggio and Campiello prizes, Loy's lush and seductive novel captures the internal dramas of a 19th-century Piedmontese family and the romantic and mystical intrigues of a society innocent of Freud and industrial-age expediencies. Here relationships grow slowly but unself-consciously. Maria, beloved by two brothers, is widowed by one and wed by the other; her unmarried sister, meanwhile, remains unswerving in her devotion to Maria's first husband and communes with his ghost. The dynamic continues into the next generation when two of Maria's sons conduct affairs with the same woman. Others among the dreamily evoked figures include a neighbor who uses her granddaughter's powers of attraction to gain young lovers for herself, a bevy of impoverished but worldly sisters who offer their beauty as dowries; an ingenue born of an illicit, much-regretted tryst. Unlike other grand Italian sagas such as The Leopard , this novel presents subjects unbowed by the demands of historical change; rather, their lives constitute a history in and of themselves. BOMC alternate. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Discover what to read next