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The Madonna of The Mountains Hardcover – 29 Mar 2018

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (29 Mar. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571336329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571336326
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Elise Valmorbida's writing brings Maria vividly to life and she is excellent on checkpoints and informers, beatings and hunger - the small terrors of living in Mussolini's Italy. "Maria feels fear all the time, like a stone hidden in her belly, or a shadow that won't leave her body no matter how hard she tries to leap away from it." It is a bewitching, but entirely unsentimental portrait of one woman's attempt to keep her family safe in turbulent times. (Antonia Senior The Times - Book of the Month)

'[A] brutal, brutalizing portrait of war... Lushly written.' (Sunday Times)

[A] moving, engrossing story of a traditional Italian family enduring the worst of times . . . Valmorbida shows a deep knowledge of the minutiae and privations of domestic and rural life in Italy (Jennifer Somerville Good Reading)

A must-read. (New York Post)

Mussolini's Italy is brilliantly recreated . . . Valmorbida is excellent on the small humiliations of living in a fascist regime, and Maria is a memorably ordinary heroine. (Summer Books Pick The Times)

With Mussolini's propaganda promoting fertility as the female form of patriotism, Maria rises to her role as matriarch in this elegant, sweeping novel. (Big Issue)

A doll on the railroad tracks; a madwoman in the wild; silkworms in the attic. Recipes for rolling tender gnocchi, using sardines to make polenta last, torturing enemies with oil or salt-they're all part of life in this winning novel about tradition, hardship, and resolve. (Publishers Weekly, USA)

Elise Valmorbida writes vividly of family, faith and place, and renders the stoicism of Maria's generation with an admiring eye. (Cameron Woodhead Sydney Morning Herald)

The Fascist period is one which produced some of Italy's greatest writing, and Elise Valmorbida's novel is one which, for me, captures the essence of this period with sensitivity and excellence. In a way, the novel reminds me of Natalia Ginzburg's masterpiece of an autobiography, Lessico Famigliare. A focus on strong female characters runs throughout the two, and an emphasis on the importance of the maternal, along with the insertion of dialect family sayings and phrases, all creating rich layers of gripping language and storytelling. (Anna Ward Nora and Luna)

Reminiscent of Alberto Moravia's Two Women, Valmorbida's powerful epic is a solid choice for readers who appreciate layered family saga involving betrayals and broken hearts. (Library Journal, USA)

Book Description

Cousin of My Brilliant Friend, niece of Tracy Chevalier and acquaintance of Anna Hope, we are delighted to introduce Maria Vittoria, a new literary companion.

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25 customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

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