Lies and Sorcery

Lies and Sorcery

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'I loved it and it had been a long time since I had read anything that gave me such life and joy' Natalia Ginzburg

The first unabridged English translation of the electrifying novel of secrets and delusions, from one of the greatest Italian writers of the twentieth century.

Elisa – orphaned as a child, raised by a ‘fallen woman’, fed by fairy tales – has lived in an outlandish imaginary world for years. When her guardian dies, she feels compelled to confront her family’s tortured and dramatic past, weaving the tale of her mother and grandmother through a history of intrigue, treachery, deception and desire. But as her saga of three generations of Sicilian women proceeds, it becomes something else entirely, taking in a whole legacy of oppression and injustice. By turns flamboyant and intense, raging and funny, Lies and Sorcery is a celebration of the female imagination, and the power of storytelling itself.

First published in 1948, Elsa Morante’s debut novel won the Viareggio Prize and earned her the lasting admiration of generations of writers from Italo Calvino and Natalia Ginzburg to Elena Ferrante.

Translated by Jenny McPhee


  • I loved it and it had been a long time since I had read anything that gave me such life and joy
    Natalia Ginzburg

About the author

Elsa Morante

Elsa Morante was an Italian novelist, poet, and translator. She was born in 1912 in Rome and wrote her debut novel, Lies and Sorcery, while hiding in the countryside during the German occupation of Italy in the Second World War. Alongside Lies and Sorcery, which won the Viareggio Prize, Morante’s novels include Arturo’s Island, which was awarded the Strega Prize, and History: A Novel which became a national bestseller in Italy on publication. She died in 1985.
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