- Copertina flessibile: 256 pagine
- Editore: Flamingo; New edition edizione (29 novembre 1993)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0006545963
- ISBN-13: 978-0006545965
- Peso di spedizione: 204 g
The Silent Duchess (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 29 nov 1993
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'The Silent Duchess' won the Premio Campiello, Italy's most prestigious literary prize, selling over a quarter of a million copies. The novel is also a winner of the monthly 'Independent' Award for Foreign Fiction.
'Set in eighteenth-century Italy the story of our heroine, Marianna, and of her family is a fascinating one which manages totally to overpower the reader with its narrative urgency. Maraini brilliantly conveys the mixture of luxury and squalor in which the Sicilian aristocracy lived, and with great skill, communicates every detail through the eyes and nostrils of her Silent Duchess.'
FRANCIS KING, 'Evening Standard'
'Few other novelists have so forcefully expressed the sense that the age they describe is a shaping force in the conduct of their characters. 'The Silent Duchess' has the richness of a saga, and Maraini weaves striking scenes into the narrative with an ease, both memorable and inevitable.'
JOSEPH FARRELL, 'Independent'
''The Silent Duchess' succeeds through its accretion of details. A vivid and hushed account, Maraini's portrayal of the Duchess Marianna's life is blanketed in a strange beauty, like the snow-muffled landscape of winter.'
NICCI GERRARD, 'Observer'
'Dacia Maraini is an artist of considerable power. 'The Silent Duchess' is a novel that would have delighted Nabokov. It is brimming with detail, vividly presented in a style that is abrupt, spiky, and yet luxuriant. Every page presents one with the unexpected. It arouses intense feeling, it provokes thought.'
ALLAN MASSIE, 'Scotsman'
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This is a story for all women and sadly so, a story as old as time and that in its way still plays out in our modern world,
and makes one wonder if there will ever be a day when the woman is not suppressed by society and men. Despite the tragedies that our Duchess faces she is the ultimate survivor, and although this story is dark there is redemption here which takes the form of a repressed memory revealed. This is also a vivid window into practices in place in this level of society of Sicily in the 16th century.
Noble women, who are well dressed and well fed, are similarly moved around, but their fate is determined more by strategy than by whim. The sons are not always pleased with the match made by their parents, but beauty can help the ease a loveless marriage... in the beginning. In this culture, everyone is vulnerable, and no one is happy. Mosquitos and the disease are ever present.
The people are preoccupied with ceremony and rank. The culture looks inward: "To confront other minds, other ideas, is considered in principle an act of perfidy." (p.49). The Duchess is an exception, in her physical isolation, books are her communication. While she has a life of the mind, she cannot escape the culture. While she performs acts of kindness, she understands and uses the tools of control for those she outranks. She will not or cannot follow her heart.
This book is beautifully written. Characters and the tension they inject are poetically drawn, be they major characters such as Don Pietro, who in every scene exudes his technical status as "uncle husband" or minor characters such as that of Guiseppa of whom it is said to be "inconceivable" that she is not married at 23. Many scenes are exquisite depictions of time and place such as the complex upstairs/downstairs relationship of the Duchess and Fila who has been gifted to her, the funeral of Don Pietro and the business matters that follow it, how Marianna seeks a wife for Saro, and the picnic in the vineyard to name a few.
There is an Afterward by Anna Camaiti Hostert. But for the revelation of one plot element, this would have been better as a preface. Its information on author's background and Hostert's interpretation of how Sicily's 1700's inwardness and social structure impoverished the island can better inform the text if they are read first.
This is an excellent novel and I highly recommend it to those who appreciate historical fiction for what it says about place and time.