The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni has been at the top of the reading list of Italians for generations. Written in the middle of the XIX century, it explores the reality of Northern Italy in the first part of the XVII century. There have been over 500 editions of the book in Italian, and it has been translated into several languages. The frustrated union of a couple of young lovers allows the author to deal with many themes that are both local and universal: the abuse of power, the fragility of human nature, the role of religion in the choices people make, the psychology of frustration, war, and the consequences of a devastating plague among other topics. The Betrothed is not one story; it contains several narratives that can be read independently, but when cleverly connected by the creative imagination of Manzoni become a rich tapestry of human experience.
Note: The Betrothed is a novel. It is an easy read. Participants will need to read an average of 110 pages each week. The recommended edition is the translation by Bruce Penman, published by Penguin Books.