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4.0 out of 5 stars The other thing that annoyed me about the translation is the unexplained use of ...
I almost gave this five stars but stopped short because of the translator's notes which were random and not particularly helpful, and possibly in a few instances, not quite accurate. The other thing that annoyed me about the translation is the unexplained use of italics for Sicilian dialect and the occasional use of Italian words as well, that made some parts read like a...
Published 6 days ago by Pillowtail

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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very long
interesting in parts but I have given up for now as it is just so long. Will try again soon.
Published 18 months ago by MUM1


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4.0 out of 5 stars The other thing that annoyed me about the translation is the unexplained use of ..., 21 May 2015
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This review is from: The Art of Joy (Penguin Translated Texts) (Paperback)
I almost gave this five stars but stopped short because of the translator's notes which were random and not particularly helpful, and possibly in a few instances, not quite accurate. The other thing that annoyed me about the translation is the unexplained use of italics for Sicilian dialect and the occasional use of Italian words as well, that made some parts read like a 1950s war move with "Germans" shouting "Achtung" and then reverting to stilted English. Translate the whole or explain in a translator's preface the rationale for decisions like this. That's the bad bits out of the way. The contents are excellent and if you want to understand the first half of the 20the century in Sicily and how women were affected by the life that flowed around them, this is THE book. The protagonist Modesta is appealing in her own way and does live life according to her rules. This brings her into conflict with others but also contains its own admirable qualities. The contradictions in the character and the journey she makes (one can't really call this a story as the narrative has to be constantly interpreted and re-interpreted as you read) are what makes this a great book. It is warts and all, a human being struggling to make sense of a turbulent and oppressive world, and in doing so ranging between self-indulgence and concern for the marginalised. It explores in this context the communist allure in Italy following the downfall of fascism, the allure from the safety of the well-heeled villas and palazzi where no-one need work except to ensure an income. Modesta realises that she was happiest in prison where her hedonistic lifestyle would be seemingly most curtailed. It is these questions that remain and colour the book that give it its strength and balance.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The joy of reading art, 26 May 2015
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This was not an easy book to read. The blending of Italian background history between the two world wars with more personal family affairs was a suitable frame upon which to build the body of the story. Individual insights into life and thought of the period was a compelling feature of the story, as was the erotic content. Blending the narrative with passages of dialogues between characters was an unusual feature of the book. A book that would benefit from a second reading, but not before the elapse of a suitable period of time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous. A must read, 16 Oct. 2013
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Vivek Tejuja "vivekian" (mumbai, maharashtra, india) - See all my reviews
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There are very few novels you will come across in your life - that are huge in scope. That literally takes the breath of the reader and is not shy or apologetic about it. It is also about the magnitude of some novels that almost make you wonder if such authors exist anymore or can there be works of this nature ever produced again. "The Art of Joy" by Goliarda Sapienza is one such classic.

Very few books have left me stupendous - literally dumbfounded at times, without anything left to say. What "The Art of Joy" also does ironically is make you think of your voice and your opinions. Goliarda's protagonist is so strong and yet so weak, that any of us can identify with her and yet emerge our own person. I also think that somewhere is the underlined intent of the book.

Modesta is everything a woman is - weak, powerful, giving, restraining and yet wanting it all. She blends into the plot, with the history of Italy as the plot unfolds. It is a memoir of sorts and yet it is as hidden as it could get. There are spaces in-between that shine through and will dazzle the reader. There are times when the writing just takes you by storm. The story of Modesta and Italy are superbly portrayed. There is no separating the two.

What I am most surprised is that the book was rejected by various publishers, before it could get published in 2005 and deserved recognition at last. Modesta's story is one to reckon with. "The Art of Joy" spans through the entire century - the history of the twentieth century, with the figure of one lone strong woman.

There are so many linear plots to the novel and yet there wasn't a single time I was tired reading it. It felt that I had to go on and on or else I would not be able to sleep. Modesta's hopes, desires and her aspirations become yours. She is able to be her person and voice in a society that is patriarchal and driven by what men think and feel.

"The Art of Joy" cannot be classified in any genre and yet I will call it literary fiction. It is one book that I think everyone must read at some point in their lives. This book should be cherished and perhaps reread. This is what the value is. A marvellous read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars amasing, 26 April 2014
This review is from: The Art of Joy (Penguin Translated Texts) (Paperback)
i think it is one of the best books i ever read, feels so real and very honest, very positive, wish i read it earlier in my life!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 16 July 2014
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bit weird, bending towards kitsch, but very interesting and readable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 25 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Art of Joy (Penguin Translated Texts) (Paperback)
One of the best book I have ever read.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Joy, 6 Aug. 2013
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I read a review of this book in the Guardian. It instantly appealed to me, and I wasn't disappointed. The style is slightly dated, it was written over a number of years in the late fifties and early sixties, but it's a wonderful tale of an eccentric hedonistic woman living in Sicily in the early part of the twentieth century.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very long, 25 Nov. 2013
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interesting in parts but I have given up for now as it is just so long. Will try again soon.
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The Art of Joy (Penguin Translated Texts)
The Art of Joy (Penguin Translated Texts) by Goliarda Sapienza (Paperback - 6 Mar. 2014)
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