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The Resource The madonna of the mountains : a novel, Elise Valmorbida

The madonna of the mountains : a novel, Elise Valmorbida

Label
The madonna of the mountains : a novel
Title
The madonna of the mountains
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Elise Valmorbida
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"This epic novel follows the life of a woman in the hardscrabble Italian countryside, from her girlhood through marriage and motherhood through two World Wars and during the Fascist party rule. A sweeping saga about womanhood, religion, loyalty, war, family, motherhood, and marriage, The Madonna of the Mountains is set in Italy during the 1920s to the 1950s, and follows its heroine, Maria Vittoria, from her girlhood through her marriage and motherhood, through the National Fascist Party Rule and ending with her decision to emigrate with her family to Australia. The novel takes us into the mind and heart of one woman who must hold her family together with resilience, love, and faith, in a world where the rules are constantly changing"--
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Award
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction, 2019.
Review
  • Maria Vittoria is overjoyed when her father brings home a strong, handsome husband for her. At 25, Maria is practically a spinster. The First World War has reduced Italy’s bachelor population, and Maria has been praying to the Madonna for a good husband. At first, Achille treats her well, but as they face struggles, he turns violent. While they open a small grocery store and expand their family with several children, Maria continues to pray to the Madonna, who provides comfort to Maria as Italy edges close to WWII, and as she is forced to make difficult choices for her and her family to survive. Valmorbida (The Book of Happy Endings, 2014) deftly portrays Maria’s rising desperation and, along with her daughter, Amelia, her unbreakable strength. The two face unimaginable hardships and, through the love of their family and faith, persevere. Although slow moving, this novel is a well-written family saga that would appeal to fans of Elena Ferrante and those who like historical women’s fiction. -- Pearson, Lynnanne (Reviewed 5/15/2018) (Booklist, vol 114, number 18, p28)
  • For her fiction debut, Valmorbida (author of the nonfiction collection The Book of Happy Endings) crafts a convincing if familiar portrait of an Italian woman’s struggle to ensure her family’s survival. Maria Vittoria’s story begins in 1923 in the Veneto countryside. At 25, she prays for a husband; her only previous romantic experience is a cousin’s attempt to kiss her. When she weds, Maria experiences a painful wedding night with husband Achille, who turns abusive. Despite marital difficulties, political repression, and wartime tribulations, Maria and Achille build a thriving grocery and growing family—and then Achille is arrested, leaving Maria to manage business and household. Her cousin, now in the militia, helps her—for a price. Her five children also help, but hard times reduce Maria to hunting lizards for food and stealing money. Fascists, partisans, Nazis, and Americans pass through while Maria prays and dreams about emigration. Valmorbida tracks the domestic power shift over a quarter-century from Achille to Maria and from one generation to the next. Details add authenticity: 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 on tradition, hardship, and resolve. (June) --Staff (Reviewed 04/16/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 16, p)
  • In 1923, in the mountains of Northern Italy, Maria Vittoria, 25 and past marriageable age, awaits her father's return home with a suitable match. Achille is a handsome veteran from another valley, as most of the local men had been lost to the Great War or already spoken for. Her mother's wedding gift to the couple is a statue of the Virgin Mary, to whom Maria vows to pray. Maria and Achille move to a small town where he buys a grocery store. Although four children are born to the couple, the marriage is fraught with domestic violence and financial struggles as Mussolini's Fascist Party comes to power. The family struggles to survive tested loyalties and further hardships when the Germans invade, but resilient Maria remains determined and devoted throughout. VERDICT Somewhat reminiscent of Albert Moravia's Two Women, Valmorbida's (Book of Happy Endings) historical novel, which includes numerous Italian words, many not translated, as well as a deep understanding of the tenets of Catholicism, focuses on Italy between two World Wars. Her powerful epic is a solid choice for readers who appreciate layered family sagas involving betrayals and broken hearts. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.] --Andrea Tarr (Reviewed 04/01/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 6, p71)
  • One woman's life serves as an exemplar of the harsh realities experienced by an Italian generation marked by war in this panoramic, yet site-specific, novel. Maria Vittoria is a bride of advanced age—25—as Valmorbida (The Winding Stick, 2009, etc.) begins her story. In 1923, her father produces a groom for her, Achille, a World War I veteran, and the story of Maria's life begins to unfold, along with the story of a family and a country devastated by competing loyalties and warring factions. Maria and Achille settle in the plains, in the village of Fosso, but the wisdom imparted to her by the emblematic Madonna of the Mountains, a statue of the Virgin Mary which Maria carries with her throughout her life, harkens back to the rough-hewn lessons and truths of her early life in the mountains of the north. As Maria and Achille nurture both their growing family and a thriving grocery business, the rising power of fascism and the cruel privations of World War II threaten to destroy all the couple has so doggedly worked to create. Valmorbida's narrative raises issues of misogyny, family loyalty, and moral ambiguity during wartime in an organic way while maintaining the tension and characterization needed to advance a family saga. As the tale approaches a postwar finale, Maria must make peace with past decisions and, once again, depends on her companion since youth, the eponymous Madonna, for guidance. Valmorbida belongs to a family that emigrated from Italy to Australia after World War II, and the wartime horrors endured by her characters may invite speculation about the autobiographical nature of this work—but the moral and ethical questions raised propel the story beyond the particulars into the universal. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2018)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10664780
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Valmorbida, Elise
Dewey number
823/.914
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR9619.3.V32
LC item number
M36 2018
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Women
  • World War, 1939-1945
Target audience
adult
Label
The madonna of the mountains : a novel, Elise Valmorbida
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
347 pages
Isbn
9780399592430
Lccn
2017034435
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • 987279061
  • (OCoLC)987279061
Label
The madonna of the mountains : a novel, Elise Valmorbida
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
347 pages
Isbn
9780399592430
Lccn
2017034435
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • 987279061
  • (OCoLC)987279061

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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