Like Visconti's film The Leopard, this magnificent novel paints in sensuous colours the story of a family. She follows the family as they emigrate to New York - where they find only humiliation and poverty - and after their return to Italy in the early 1920's.
'An idiosyncratic and haunting novel: lush, slow-paced, sensual, metaphorical and, at the same time, anxiously worrying over the demands of kinship and the trail of history. . . this is a cultural historian's novel and the scholarly curiosity that went into Marina Warner's fine books on female myths and iconography makes here for a devotedly careful recreation' Hermione Lee, OBSERVER 'THE LOST FATHER has all the pleasures of a literary crossword puzzle, combined with a brilliantly realised women's world of snail hunting and water carrying, of the terrors of the PASSEGIATA and of old maidhood. It is Warner's best novel so far. . . ' Lorraine Fletcher, GUARDIAN
Marina Warner spent her early years in Cairo, and was educated at a convent in Berkshire, and then in Brussels and London, before studying modern languages at Oxford. She is an internationally acclaimed cultural historian, critic, novelist and short story writer. From her early books on the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc, to her bestselling studies of fairy tales and folk stories, From the Beast to the Blonde and No Go the Bogeyman, her work has explored different figures in myth and fairy tale and the art and literature they have inspired. She lectures widely in Europe, the United States and the Middle East, and is currently Professor in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex. She was appointed CBE in 2008.
"An idiosyncratic and haunting novel: lush, slow-paced, sensual, metaphorical and, at the same time, anxiously worrying over the demands of kinship and the trail of history... This is a cultural historian's novel and the scholarly curiosity that went into Marina Warner's fine books of female myths and iconography makes here for a devotedly careful recreation" -- Hermione Lee Observer "Warner's language and pace astonish and reward. Her characters, male and female, elderly and children, strike again and again the unexpected true note, whether playing, grieving, lusting, skinning fowl for dinner or complaining about politics" -- Marianne Wiggins Sunday Times "The Lost Father has all the pleasure of a literary crossword puzzle, combined with a brilliantly realised women's world... It is Warner's best novel so far" -- Lorraine Fletcher Guardian "Marina Warner's fiction has a slow, dreamy quality that is at once pleasurable and slightly sinister... This is a moving book, and a very bookish one" -- Lorna Sage Times Literary Supplement
Here, in one of her finest novels, Warner paints a portrait of a fictional Italian family between 1909 and the 1930s. As the narrator is drawn into the passion and prejudice of her own invention, it becomes increasingly clear how family memory distorts and mythologizes. (Kirkus UK)
From the author of nonfiction about female symbols (Monuments and Maidens; Alone of All Her Sex; Joan of Arc) and two previous novels (The Skating Party; In A Dark Wood): the imagined history of a southern Italian family up to the present-day generations in England and America; occasionally absorbing but flawed fiction. Anna Collouthar, who catalogs "ephemera" for a London museum in financial straits, is writing a memoir based on her Italian-born mother's recollections, and centered on the figure of her grandfather, Davide Pittagora - who, according to family legend, was shot during a duel of honor when young and died 20 years later as a result of lead poisoning from the bullet. Anna imagines the dreams of Davide and his sisters; their emigration to New York; and Davide's eventual return to Italy with his wife and children, who later must survive without him during the Mussolini era when their American sojourn makes them suspect. In spite of old-fashioned overwriting (intentional, perhaps, as a legacy from Davide, a composer of florid declamations), the story of the Pittagoras' fortunes is engaging, and the abundance of southern Italian lore interesting, but the presentation of Anna's present-day life is banal and at times just silly. All in all, then: a mostly well-rendered fictional picture of life in the impoverished and traditional South of Italy, marred by its ill-conceived setting. (Kirkus Reviews)