Accabadiora
2013 Longlist

Accabadora

Translated from the original Italian by Silvester Mazzarella
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

Formerly beautiful and at one time betrothed to a fallen soldier, Bonaria Urrai has long held covenant with the dead. Midwife to the dying, easing their suffering and sometimes ending it, she is revered and feared in equal measure as the village’s Accabadora. When Bonaria adopts Maria, the unloved fourth child of a widow, she tries to shield the girl from the truth about her role as an angel of mercy. 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 her and flees Sardinia for Turin. Adrift in the big city, Maria strives as ever to find love and acceptance, but her efforts are overshadowed by the creeping knowledge of a debt unpaid, of a duty and destiny that must one day be hers. Accabadora has been awarded seven major literary prizes, including Italy’s prestigious Premio Campiello. An exceptional English-language debut, it weaves a narrative of rare grace and subtlety into a sensual tapestry of local nuance, atmosphere and dialect.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Michela
Murgia

Michela Murgia was born in Cabras, Sardinia, in 1972 and has worked as a religious studies teacher, a timeshare saleswoman and an administrator in a power plant. Accabadora firmly establishes her alongside Marcello Fois and Davide Longo at the forefront of a recent renaissance in Italian fiction.

Michela Murgia was born in Cabras, Sardinia, in 1972 and has worked as a religious studies teacher, a timeshare saleswoman and an administrator in a power plant. Accabadora firmly establishes her alongside Marcello Fois and Davide Longo at the forefront of a recent renaissance in Italian fiction.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Silvester
Mazzarella

Silvester is a literary translator and biographer.

Literary Tranlsator and Biographer, born 1936: English mother and Italian father. In the early 1920s my mother read English at St Anne’s (then ‘Oxford Home Students’). When I became an undergraduate at the Hall we visited the Chapel together, and she told me she used to go to the Hall for tutorials with Hall’s pioneer English don Ronald Fletcher (1890-1950), since commemorated in the Antechapel floor; apparently he asked her to marry him (see my articles in SEH Magazine 2000-2001 pp 162-3, and 2002-2003 pp 72-4).

I matriculated in 1956 and followed my mother in reading English at the Hall, scraping a Second in 1959. As a lecturer in the English Department at Helsinki University, Finland and reviewer of British books for a leading Finnish newspaper (1965-88), I took a special interest in Finland’s second language, Swedish. Back in England from 1988, I read Italian at the University of Kent in Canterbury, taking a First in Italian there in 1995, It was only after 2000 that I started translating books into English, first from Swedish and later from Italian.

By then I had also researched and virtually completed writing a biography of my mother’s uncle Filson Young (1876-1938), a once well-known and controversial miscellaneous writer (novelist, war correspondent, editor, BBC radio pioneer, essayist and much more). This book has yet to find a publisher, but my full text can be read on the internet (Google “Filson Young Silvester Mazzarella”).

Silvester is a literary translator and biographer.

Literary Tranlsator and Biographer, born 1936: English mother and Italian father. In the early 1920s my mother read English at St Anne’s (then ‘Oxford Home Students’). When I became an undergraduate at the Hall we visited the Chapel together, and she told me she used to go to the Hall for tutorials with Hall’s pioneer English don Ronald Fletcher (1890-1950), since commemorated in the Antechapel floor; apparently he asked her to marry him (see my articles in SEH Magazine 2000-2001 pp 162-3, and 2002-2003 pp 72-4).

I matriculated in 1956 and followed my mother in reading English at the Hall, scraping a Second in 1959. As a lecturer in the English Department at Helsinki University, Finland and reviewer of British books for a leading Finnish newspaper (1965-88), I took a special interest in Finland’s second language, Swedish. Back in England from 1988, I read Italian at the University of Kent in Canterbury, taking a First in Italian there in 1995, It was only after 2000 that I started translating books into English, first from Swedish and later from Italian.

By then I had also researched and virtually completed writing a biography of my mother’s uncle Filson Young (1876-1938), a once well-known and controversial miscellaneous writer (novelist, war correspondent, editor, BBC radio pioneer, essayist and much more). This book has yet to find a publisher, but my full text can be read on the internet (Google “Filson Young Silvester Mazzarella”).

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

This book is about a serious subject – death and life, but it is written with much lightness, poetry and sensitivity.

Winner of  the Campiello, an important Literary Award, Accabadora describes Sardinia of  the Fifties, a primitive world with rules and silent agreements, like the role of an angel of mercy of Bonaria, who adopts  Maria, the autobiographical main character of the novel. Terse language, without emphasis.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/01/2011
Country
Italy
Original Language
Italian
Publisher
MacLehose Press
Translator
Silvester Mazzarella
Translation
Translated from the original Italian by Silvester Mazzarella

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