elias

The latest addition to my website is Grazia Deledda‘s Elias Portolu (Elias Portolu). Deledda was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and she is still the only Italian woman to do so. This book, published in 1903, was set in Sardinia where Deledda was from and tells the story of Elias. Elias had fallen into bad company, been involved in petty theft and sent to jail on the mainland. On his return, he finds that his brother, Pietro, has become engaged to Maddalena. When Elias first meets her, he falls immediately in love with her and, soon after, his love is reciprocated. The book is about the consequences of this love. Elias considers various options – leaving Sardinia, becoming a priest and finding someone else but rejects them all because of his love for Maddalena. She is not happy in her relationship with Pietro, particularly as, after they get married, he becomes drunk and abusive. It does not turn out well for them even when Elias finally decides to become a priest. It is not a bad story and Deledda fills the book with fascinating Sardinian local colour.