Her Husband, by Luigi Pirandello, Translated by Martha King & Mary Ann Witt
Her Husband - translated here for the first time into English - is a profoundly entertaining work, by turns funny, bitingly satirical, and tinged with anguish. It portrays the complexities of male/female relations in the context of a newly emerging, small but vocal Italian feminist movement.
Evoking in vivid detail the literary world in Rome at the turn of the century, Her Husband tells the story of Silvia Roncella, a talented young female writer, and her husband Giustino Boggiolo.
The novel opens with their arrival in Rome after having left their provincial southern Italian hometown following the success of Silvia's first novel, the rather humorously titled House of Dwarves. As his wife's self-appointed (and self-important) promoter, protector, counselor, and manager, Giustino becomes the primary target of Pirandello's satire.
But the couple's relationship - and their dual career - is also complicated by a lively supporting cast of characters, including literary bohemians with avant-garde pretensions and would-be aristocratic aesthetes who are all too aware of the newly acquired power of journalists and the publishing establishment to make or break their careers.