FIRST PUBLISHED In English In , Two Women Is A Compassionate Yet Forthright Narrative Of Simple People Struggling To Survive In War The Two Women Are Cesira, A Widowed Roman Shopkeeper, And Her Daughter Rosetta, A Naive Teenager Of Haunting Beauty And Devout Faith When The German Occupation Of Rome Becomes Imminent, Cesira Packs A Few Provisions, Sews Her Life Savings Into The Seams Of Her Dress, And Flees With Rosetta To Her Native Province Of Ciociara, A Poor, Mountainous Region South Of RomeCesira S Currency Soon Loses Its Value, And A Vicious Barter Economy, Fraught With Shifty Traffickers And Thieves, Emerges Among The Mountain Peasants And Refugees Mother And Daughter Endure Nine Months Of Hunger, Cold, And Filth As They Await The Arrival Of The Allied Forces Cesira Scarcely Cares Who Wins The War, So Long As Victory Comes Soon And Brings With It A Return To Her Quiet Shopkeeper S LifeInstead, The Liberation Brings Tragedy While Heading Back To Rome The Pair Are Attacked By A Group Of Allied Moroccan Soldiers, Who Rape Rosetta And Beat Cesira Unconscious This Act Of Violence And Its Resulting Loss Of Innocence So Embitters Rosetta That She Falls Numbly Into A Life Of Prostitution Throughout These Hardships Moravia Offers Up An Intimate Portrayal Of The Anguish Wrought By The Devastation Of War, Both On The Battlefield And Upon Those Far From The Fray A very thorough and humane description of the effects that war has on souls of all those whose life it touches The story is told from the perspective of an uneducated and earthly woman amidst the chaos of the WWII Every time the story risks to become too slow or, at times, gloom, Moravia introduces an unexpected turn of events or, often, unexpected feelings and thoughts that are provoked by the events As often happens in his books, despite all the suffering, or perhaps, to some extent because of it, there still remains place for optimism and hope. In this, one of the twentieth century s great novels, Moravia offers an insight into the Italian experience of the Second World War, an experience virtually unknown in the Anglo Saxon world Here we see the struggles of Italians who move to the countryside around Rome to escape the German troops who are nominally their allies The story centres around Cesira, a woman of the country who lives in wartime Rome, and her naive daughter Rosetta Fleeing the danger and deprivation of Rome, the two women return to the village of Cesira s childhood in search of food and safety, only to find that even here, war has left its footprint As they cope with this new reality, the women encounter the kindness and cruelty, warmth and exploitation of their countrymen as a population displaced to the mountains does whatever it takes to survive in the harsh environment All the while, Cesira frets for her daughter, concerned that Rosetta s child like ignorance will leave her vulnerable, while simultaneously guarding her innocence and reputation The novel is a brilliant expos of the effects of war on even the most honourable, while the d nouement is at turns shocking, saddening and oddly uplifting The eponymous ciociara of the Italian original La Ciociara after Ciociaria, the area in which the narrative takes place, and the ciocia, a local traditional shoe , refers to Cesira, but comes also to represent both Rosetta and the state of Italy as a whole In turns both brutal and delicate, this is a wonderful novel which deserves far greater exposure in the English speaking world, as does its author. Moravia seems to be a master of great endings Nothing particularly happens in most chapters of the book, but the last three or four chapters are amazing The author faithfully describes how war can change a mentality of a girl just like the mentality of a whole society I do recommand it, you will not regret reading the quite okay majority of the book to get to the amazing finale Kind of depressing Actually, very depressing, but still a good book about life in occupied Italy during WWII. I Just adore this novel and I keep reading it over and over again La Ciociara aka Two Women, based on the novel by Alberto MoraviaA different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at and Two Women is one of the best films ever made.You can find it on the New York Times Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list film has won The Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading role and the BAFTA in the same category for Sophia Loren The Golden Globe for Best foreign Language Film The Cannes Film Festival award for Best ActressSofia Scicolone as Sophia Loren was born is one of the most magnificent, talented, resplendent actresses.Her roles are memorable La Ciociara, A Special Day, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow I have noted on the latter are just a few examplesAs for the genius directing this masterpiece, Vittorio de Sica will always be remembered for other works of art like Bicycle Thieves, Miracle in Milan, Umberto D., Marriage Italian Style, The Garden of Finzi Conti In La Ciociara, Sophia Loren is superb in the role of Cesira, who is the anxious mother of a teenager Rosetta.The action takes place during the World War II, under the bombardments and within the terror of conflict.At the start, after a terrible bombing taking place over Rome, Cesira decides to take her daughter, who has a weak heart away.First the mother meets with an old friend and we realize that the husband that Cesira had married was not good enough for her.The Two Women embark on a train ride, to seek safety in the countryside that would offer protection.Or so they hope.They have to abandon the train as it has stopped and they continue their journey, coming across partisans.Notwithstanding the righteousness of the cause of fighting against the Nazis, these show a dark side when facing the Two Women.They want the Two Women to be their servants, using the disturbing logic that if their cause is good, serving them is the right thing.But Cesira is a Wonder Woman, gifted, proud, brave, determined, a role model, gritty and insubordinate.Her short answer if No Way She meets an idealist, Michele, who is portrayed by a restrained Jean Paul Belmondo, in a rather unusual role for him.Michele falls in love with Cesira, who in turn jokes with her teenage daughter that she would allow Rosetta to marry the young man, if only the thirteen year old would be just a little older.Food is running short in this village where Cesira was born and there is a scene that I recollect on the subject.The worried mother tries to get some food from a shepherd that has an interesting attitude towards prices If I sell you at my price, you would be angry with me and if I sell you at your price, then I would be mad at you Therefore, the Two Women have to travel back to Rome and on the way tragedy strikes in what manner I will not say.It is just that relativity is in evidence again As in the case of the partisans who wanted servants just because they were on the right side, here again allied soldiers are responsible for an outrageous act which would be called a war crime today.This is a stupendous movie. This one will stay with me for a long time. Read in Italian.Given the title Two Women in English, the Italian title of this novel refers to a geographical region in the hill country east of Rome The story takes place in 1943 44 during the period when the Allies were moving up the Italian peninsula, retaking it from the Germans after the collapse of the Italian fascist government The story is told in the first person by Cesira, a widow and owner of a small shop in Rome who lives with her notably na ve daughter Rosetta, almost of marriageable age Rome at the beginning of the novel is under German occupation and life is becoming ever dangerous and uncertain Cesira decides to leave her shop in the care of a neighbor and flee with her daughter to her own home village in the hill country The narrative traces their lives over a period of nine months, until at the end they return to liberated Rome.This is in part the story of the privations, constant dangers and aggressions that the women endure, their losses and their hopelessness as well as their occasional joys, their uncertainties and the people they encounter and with whom they live at various times It is even the story of their own understandings, their values and their personal growth from moral rigidity to a deeper comprehension of the factors that determine people s lives and their adaptation to circumstances, as well as an acceptance of themselves and their own responses that leads ultimately to a deep compassion for and acceptance of themselves and others It is an honest and at times searing book, filled with hopes and anguish, violence and uncertainty, simple joys as well as interpersonal disappointments I often felt stunned reading it, and at the end I felt surprisingly peaceful The book is deep and thought provoking, sensitive and real, and it finds hope in the midst of terrible circumstances.A movie based on the book and starring Sophia Loren was made a number of decades ago, and I would like to see it. Great account of occupied Italy in later WW2, with a focus on the absolutely human desperation of civilians and how war takes virtually everything away.
Alberto Moravia, born Alberto Pincherle, was one of the leading Italian novelists of the twentieth century whose novels explore matters of modern sexuality, social alienation, and existentialism He was also a journalist, playwright, essayist and film critic Moravia was an atheist, his writing was marked by its factual, cold, precise style, often depicting the malaise of the bourgeoisie,
- 331 pages
- La Ciociara
- Alberto Moravia
- 14 July 2019 Alberto Moravia