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The Silent Duchess (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 29 nov 1993

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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.'

'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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Le recensioni clienti più utili su (beta) 4.2 su 5 stelle 10 recensioni
23 di 25 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle This is a rich, beautiful, original novel 29 novembre 1998
Di Katha Pollitt - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida
Dacia Maraini is celebrated in italy, where her books are bestsellers and win important prizes, but she hasn't yet caught on in the United States, where translated fiction gets slighted and there's room for only two or three writers from each foreign country. I hope the Silent Duchess changes that. It's an extraordinary book -- a historical novel set in 18th century Sicily, whose heroine, Marianna Ucria, the deaf and dumb aristocrat of the title, manages, in small and subtle ways, to become an independent spirit despite a forced marriage to her uncle at age 13. The writing is piquant and evocative-- Sicily has never seemed so intense and alive--sights, smells, food). This is a book with everything you'd find in a historical potboiler-- sex, love, violence, family, incest, spectacle, tragedy. But it's a serious word of art, moving, sensuous, thought-provoking. One of the best novels I've read all year!
11 di 11 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Maraini's Silent Duchess sank deep into my subconcious mind 3 ottobre 1998
Di Un cliente - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida
I was attracted by the romantic presentation of eighteenth century life in Sicily, reminiscent of The Leopard.......however this leopardess has her own den. I'm still sorting the pieces of what could have been a pot-boiler with the nuances which made this book cling to me. In very small experiences akin to the heroine, I have spent some days in silence and am astounded at the view I have of my world and my colleagues. As was depicted by Maraini, people filled in the blanks for the Duchess (or for me) without considering or verifying assent or denial. As the story forms and is given to us (that is my description of the subtle powers of the author), the Duchess changes. We are almost not aware, and then we see that that was the story all along. Change isn't the right word, that's too dramatic. It's more like she 'comes to be'. The unpackaged ending is so hopeful, and so unconstrained. I'm tired of being told what I should be, in life and in print. I'm already an overachiever with freedoms Mariana never dreamed of. Oh, thank you Dacia. I'm going back for more.
11 di 11 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle a silent little gem 30 ottobre 2002
Di Un cliente - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile
I had to read this book for a literature class, and I completely adored it. If you know even a little bit about the social situation of women in the 18th century, you'll soon understand what a remarkable character the Duchess Marianna Ucria is. Although I had figured out, really early into the novel what the 'childhood trauma' was, I was pleased to see that it wasn't a book about coming to terms with trauma (yawn, yawn). Instead The Silent Duchess is more a novel about silences, both physical and metaphorical, it gives a voice to women who have been ignored by both society and history.
Dacia Maraini has created a gem of a book, which deal with many women's issues, some of which still exist today, but does so in a way that's not off-putting. Thought provoking, not boring.
5 di 7 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle the silent duchess 27 marzo 2003
Di Un cliente - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile
This was one of the best books I have read. It will stay with me for many years. I read in Sicily and it helped give me a "living color" understanding of history and culture of Sicily. It is fiction based on accurate fact and an entertaining way to learn about Sicily. Initially I thought it was a women's book but my husband who is normally addicted macho mysteries loved the book also.
5.0 su 5 stelle Portrait of 1700's Sicilian Culture 6 ottobre 2012
Di Loves the View - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile
Through the story of a deaf and mute duchess, author Dacia Maraini describes the stultifying culture of Sicily in the early 1700's. There is a strong class system with nobles living well, but precariously. They control the lives of those below their rank and on a whim they can pluck someone from miserable poverty and "elevate" them to servitude.

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.

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