Not so long ago Emilio Brentani was a promising young author. Now he is an insurance agent on the fast track to forty. He gains a new lease on life, though, when he falls for the young and gorgeous Angiolina—except that his angel just happens to be an unapologetic cheat. But what begins as a comedy of infatuated misunderstanding ends in tragedy, as Emilio’s jealous persistence in his folly—against his friends’ and devoted sister’s advice, and even his own best knowledge—leads to the loss of the one person who, too late, he realizes he truly loves.
Marked by deep humanity and earthy humor, by psychological insight and an elegant simplicity of style, As a Man Grows Older (Senilità, in Italian; the English title was the suggestion of Svevo’s great friend and admirer, James Joyce) is a brilliant study of hopeless love and hapless indecision. It is a masterwork of Italian literature, here beautifully rendered into English in Beryl de Zoete’s classic translation.
Svevo has the capacity—so rare as to be almost unknown in the English novel—of handling emotional relationships with a combined tenderness, humor and realism….He writes about characters and situations of universal application.
— The Times Literary Supplement