6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An excellent biography of an appalling but fascinating figure.,
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This review is from: The Pike (Paperback)
Above all, I enjoyed every minute spent reading this book.
I can see why it has won an award: it is obviously the product of a lot of research (and the author cites her sources quite carefully - how refreshing in a popular biography); she writes in engaging prose; she does not hide her personal view of her subject (an appalling man but an irresistibly interesting one); and she gives us everything we need to form our own view of him - though admittedly it's likely to coincide with her own.
I wondered for a while whether the author's narrative device really worked, giving us snapshots of D'Annunzio at several points in his life before she returns to the beginning and starts the comprehensive chronological narrative. On reflection, I think the introductory chapters give us a bare-bones portrait of the man and his character, giving the reader a perspective which fills out as the conventionally ordered narrative progresses.
What the book isn't is an evaluation of D'Annunzio's literary output. While his own self-publicity and self-aggrandisement account for part of his popular following in Italy, nevertheless he would never have become a national hero without his literature - poems, stories, novels and plays - making him, at least in popular perception, a Renaissance man transplanted into the late 19th/early 20th century.