A new translation of the stories of Giovanni Verga, the greatest Italian short-story writer since Boccaccio." "Born in 1840 into a well-to-do Sicilian family, in the 1870s Verga became an active observer and habitue of Milanese salon society, but eventually found in the everyday lives of Sicilian peasants the inspiration for his finest narratives. Love, adultery and honour are recurring themes in stories set against the scorched landscapes of the slopes of Mount Etna and the Plain of Catania.
D.H. Lawrence, who lived for a while in Sicily, discovered Verga's work with great excitement and translated him in the 1920's, He rightly called "Jeli the Shephard" and another story "Rosso Malpelo" two of the greatest ever written, At his best, as G.H. McWilliam's distinguished new translations of the stories allow us to see, Verga is quite the equal of Chekhov, in the fiercely unsentimental depiction of ordinary rural life, in the coaxing of opaque inner lives, and most of all in his self-smothering ability to see life not as a writer might see it, but entirely from within the minds of his mostly uneducated characters.