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Accabadora Hardcover – 29 Sep 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (29 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857050451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857050458
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Incredibly moving ... I really enjoyed it' Miranda Sawyer, Radio Four.

'MacLehose Press [...] have hit aces yet again with this delicate gem ... With Accabadora, Signorina Murgia has penned a powerful and at times genuinely spellbinding piece of work' Billy O'Calllaghan, Irish Examiner.

'A real gem ... Beautifully written ... Wonderfully well evoked ... It reminded me a little of the Tiger's Wife' Liz Jensen, Radio Four.

'The award winning Accabadora is an exceptional English-language debut, written with an intriguing subtlety to reflect a sensual atmospheric picture of local Italian life and death in villages during the 1950's. A time where family ties and obligations still decide much of life's ebb and flow. A must read for those who love a touch of the unusual' Female First.

'Murgia, I have to say, is excellent at giving her readers a taste of that rural, unhurried life ... And because I found her style captivating, I was captivated by even the simplest of things. I found this novel simply enchanting due to Murgia's beautiful style of writing, even although some parts are truly shocking. This is a little gem of a book to be treasured and I fell under Murgia's spell when reading it. The translation is also seamless. Highly recommended' Bookbag.

'The prose is precisely crafted, sometimes poetically beautiful ... there is much in this novel that is humane, poetic and deeply moving' Historical Novels Review.

From the Inside Flap

When the once-beautiful Bonaria Urrai adopts Maria, the unloved fourth child of a widow, she tries to shield the girl from the truth about her role as an accabadora, an angel of mercy, who acts as mid-wife to the dying. The rural community fear and revere her in equal measure, but they understand that just as only a woman can bring life into the world, only a woman should take it away. Moved by the pleas of a young man crippled in an accident, she breaks her golden rule of familial consent, and in the recriminations that follow, Maria rejects Tzia Bonaria and flees Sardinia for Turin. Adrift in the big city, she strives to find love and acceptance, but her efforts are overshadowed by the creeping knowledge of a debt unpaid, of family ties that have nothing to do with blood, and of a destiny that must one day be hers. A powerful and yet delicate novel set in 1950s rural Sardinia, written in a rich, limpid prose that perfectly captures the hidden ties between life, love and death.


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Book Monkey on 11 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Accabadora is Michela Murgia's English-language debut (having been translated by Silvester Mazzarella), and it has already won seven major literary prizes, including Italy's prestigious Premio Campiello. With such a wonderful title, and such high literary acclaim how could you not want to give this little 192-page novel a go?

Set in rural Sardinia during the 1950s, this novel follows Bonaria Urrai, known as an accabadora, a mid-wife to the dying. Bonaria believes that those who are suffering on their deathbeds need someone to help them leave this world and go on to the next, the same way one helps someone deliver a baby when it is being born. The people of her village come to rely on her when a death in the family is imminent, though little is ever spoken of such things. Bonaria is a lonely widow with no family or children of her own. She decides to adopt Maria, otherwise known as a soul-child; someone who has been born twice by being brought into the world by one mother, and then brought up by another. Maria comes to love Bonaria as her own flesh and blood and the two form a special bond that will become the very fabric of the entire novel. Maria has no idea of Bonaria's work as an accabadora, until one day when news of a local village boy's death reaches her, and the brother of the deceased claims he saw Bonaria smother his brother's face with a pillow. Once Maria discovers the truth about the woman she has come to look upon as her mother, it is all far too much for her and she chooses to flee to Turin to become a nanny. But as we all know, no one can run from their life. Maria is forced to return tocSardinia where she learns some hard truths, the kind that only life can teach you. These truths make Maria question whether or not she can really understand why Bonaria does what she does.
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Format: Hardcover
This novel, Michela Murgia’s third, appeared in 2009 and won six Italian literary prizes. As a result, this translation by Silvester Mazzarella was published in 2011. The author was born in Sardinia and the major part of this book immerses the reader in the rural landscapes of the island in the 1950s.

The title may be translated as ‘Angel of Mercy’ and refers to Bonaria Urrai, an agein seamstress, who visits the chronically sick and dying to bring an end to their pain and suffering following a request from their family. Bonaria is a childless widow and, at the very beginning of this novella, she adopts the 6-year old youngest daughter of a poor family, Maria Listru. Maria is a soul-child, ‘fill’e anima’, who has both a biological mother, Anna Teresa Listru, and the mother with who she now lives in Soreni, Bonaria.

The topic of assisted dying is once again in the news here in Britain whilst, on Sardinia, the accabadora was separated from the community who provided food, fuel clothing and other basics since it was forbidden to offer financial payment for the service rendered.

We see Maria’s initial exploration of the physical and moral boundaries of her new home, her relationship with Bonaria and her enjoyment of school, not least because of the encouragement she receives from her teacher, Luciana Tellani, one of the few non-Sardinians in the book. It is clear that the lives of the inhabitants of Soreni have changed little over the centuries. People work together in the grape harvest and gossip is exchanged and augmented. Maria initially visits Anna Teresa and her sisters when they need help but, when her family mock her education, Bonaria restricts these visits.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderful book concerning a very sensitive problem which I found extremely
.thought provoking, also very well written I enjoyed it and have already read it twice. Well done Michela and thank you
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