THE HOUSE IN MILAN by Giovanni Testori


Email this review


An impressionistic Italian novel of poor people in a housing project in Milan opens with a symbolic storm that brings no rain but stirs up loose papers, garbage and the latent discontents of various tenants. Redenta is bitter and lonely after her fiance has been killed in the war; the Olivas, devout Catholics, and the Villas are politically opposed and at odds even among themselves; young Sandrino Scieppati, the oldest of a large family has escaped poverty by becoming a male prostitute. As these discontents rise to the surface, young Carlo Villa, embittered by continous battles, seduces Rina Oliva to shame her. But her love for him eventually wakens his love too and when they are cast out by both families, they take refuge with lonely Redenta. Sandrino's mother searches for him in the appalling urban underworld, she persuades him to come home but not give up his ways. The drains in the building begin to leak, and, in the stench, in the continual hubbub of people living and fighting at close quarters, the tenants go to sleep again.... It is a sombre, swirling picture of poverty and decay, counterpointed by a vivid and touching love affair; even in this wretchedness, life will go on- in Carlo's and Rina's child. Limited.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1962
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World