Books: Fate in Sicily

THE HOUSE BY THE MEDLAR TREE (247 pp.) — Giovanni Verga — Grove Press ($3.50).

"Giovanni Verga, the Sicilian novelist and playwright, is surely the greatest writer of Italian fiction after Manzoni," said D. H. Lawrence. Between the two,'born half a century apart, runs the great divide of 19th century European literature, on the one side romanticism, on the other realism. If Manzoni is Italy's Hugo, Verga is its Flaubert, and its Zola too. Now the finest of Verga's novels, I Malavoglia, is introduced to U.S. readers as The House by the Medlar Tree. The Malavoglia are a family of boatmen. Verga's...

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