OVERRIDE

The Art of Joy

A Novel

Goliarda Sapienza; Translated from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel; Foreword by Angelo Pellegrino

Picador

THE TUMULTUOUS TWENTIETH CENTURY, TOLD THROUGH THE LIFE OF A SINGLE EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN

Rejected by a series of publishers, abandoned in a chest for twenty years, Goliarda Sapienza’s masterpiece, The Art of Joy, survived a turbulent path to publication. It wasn’t until 2005, when it was released in France, that this novel received the recognition it deserves. At last, Sapienza’s remarkable book is available in English.

The Art of Joy centers on Modesta, a Sicilian woman born in 1900 whose strength and character are an affront to conventional morality. Impoverished as a child, Modesta believes she is destined for a better life. She is able, through grace and intelligence, to secure marriage to an aristocrat without compromising her own deeply felt values, and revels in upsetting the rules of her fascist, patriarchal society. This is the history of the twentieth century seen through the perspective of one extraordinary woman.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Art of Joy

“Sapienza’s prose is breathless throughout, urgent, driven forward by the twin engines of sex and history....It’s a feast delivered on small plates.”—NPR

“From its explosive, disturbing opening to the quiet cadences of its lyrical close, [The Art of Joy] is crammed with passion, ideas, adventure, and mystery.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“This is the publishing event of the summer…As errant, excessive, and irresistible as the woman at its heart, The Art of Joy more than lives up to the title. Modesta’s ‘intense feeling for life’ overcomes whatever obstacles the ideologies of ‘sorrow, humiliation, and fear’ can throw at her as she embraces ‘life’s fluidity.’”—Boyd Tonkin, The Independent (London)
“Sapienza’s prose is breathless throughout, urgent, driven forward by the twin engines of sex and history....It’s a feast delivered on small plates.”—NPR

“From its explosive, disturbing opening to the quiet cadences of its lyrical close, [The Art of Joy] is crammed with passion, ideas, adventure, and mystery.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“This is the publishing event of the summer…As errant, excessive, and irresistible as the woman at its heart, The Art of Joy more than lives up to the title. Modesta’s ‘intense feeling for life’ overcomes whatever obstacles the ideologies of ‘sorrow, humiliation, and fear’ can throw at her as she embraces ‘life’s fluidity.’”—Boyd Tonkin, The Independent (London)

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Goliarda Sapienza; Translated from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel; Foreword by Angelo Pellegrino

  • Goliarda Sapienza (1924–1996) was born in the Sicilian city of Catania. At sixteen, she moved to Rome to study at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, and during the 1950s and '60s she was an actress in both films and the theater. She wrote several novels, though her most important work, The Art of Joy, remained unpublished until after her death.

    Anne Milano Appel, Ph.D., a former library director and language teacher, has been translating professionally for more than fifteen years.

  • Goliarda Sapienza (c) Archivio Sapienza Pellegrino
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Art of Joy

A Novel

Goliarda Sapienza; Translated from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel; Foreword by Angelo Pellegrino

Northern California Book Award Master List
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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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