(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

Arturo’s Island, written in the first person, is the narration by Arturo Gerace, now an adult, of his memories of his childhood on the island of Procida. His memories are a clear, vivid, detailed, and sometimes agonizing account of his adolescent experiences and adventures. At the same time, they reveal the young boy’s dreams and fantasies, his love for his father and for a mother he never knew, his absolute faith in his ability to live independently, and his difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood, from a fantasy world to the real world.

The novel begins with Arturo describing his life on the island. He makes it clear that he is proud that he has the absolute freedom to do as he pleases, and that he lives a carefree life that would be the envy of any boy. At the same time, however, he expresses his need for familial love, which he attempts to find in his father. The motherless Arturo adores his father, who, according to Arturo, constantly leaves the boy alone to go off on “fabulous adventures.” Arturo lives for his father’s return because he identifies with his father’s lifestyle; thus, he augments his own fantasies of what adulthood will hold for him.

One day his perfect life is shattered by the arrival of a sixteen-year-old Neapolitan girl, Nunziata, who is Wilhelm Gerace’s new bride and, therefore, Arturo’s stepmother. Arturo’s reaction is one of perplexity and defiance. It seems to him that this girl,...

(The entire section is 409 words.)