Italian books. My review of the “the almond picker” by British-Sicilian novelist Simonetta Agnello Hornby.
After Elena Ferrante and Andrea Camilleri are you still searching in the Italian books shelf? Today I’m reccomending The Almond Picker by Simonetta Agnello Hornby. Actually I wouldn’t put it among the Italian books. Its place is in the Sicilian books shelf, if there was one. “La Mennulara” is not an Italian word, is the Sicilian way to call female workers who picked almonds from ground after men had beaten the trees.
La Mennulara, The Almond Picker, is the nickname of the main character of this book.
The story begins the day of her death, on September 23th 1963 in the village Roccacolomba.(Roccacolomba is fictional, don’t try to book a hotel there).
The woman, “Mennù”, started working as almond picker at the age of six to help the poor family. Mennù had come a long way from the almond field. As a teenager she became servant of rich family Alfallipe. Later she started to manage the family estates on behalf of the lazy Orazio, saving them from bankruptcy. At Orazio’s death, she took care of his wife. She obliged the three selfish and spoiled children to visit the mother by passing them a monthly wage. Yes, because La Mennulara, an illiterate waitress, died surprisingly rich.
Five reasons why you should read the whole series of Elena Ferrante books (My Brilliant Friend, the Story of a New Name, those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, the Story of the Lost Child) and why you will enjoy it.
Elena Ferrante books are probably the most explosive Italian literature phenomenon of the last years.
The four books of the so called Neapolitan novels fascinated people worldwide. Here’s five reasons why you should read it (if you have not done it yet).
I guess it’s unnecessary to spend too many words about the plot of these four books, which actually form one story of nearly 1.700 pages (or an infinite soap-opera, from detractors’ point of view). I will only say it’s about two main female characters, Elena and Lila, born postwar in a poor neighbourhood of Naples. The books are about their life from childhood to elderly years and about their precarious friendship.
I will also say that I agree with the most widespread readers’ opinion I’ve seen on the web : “My brilliant friend” is incredible. Not that the sequels are disappointing, but they are not as strong as the first one.
So why should you read the whole saga? In my opinion to read the four books you must want to read them. I did it and I’m not disappointed.
Here’s five reasons why you should dive without hesitation into Elena and Lila’s lives.
Are you looking for another reason to learn Italian? Check the experience of these two famous writers.
There’s more than a reason to learn Italian. You might want to read Italian literature, to watch Italian movies, to read recepies or to understand lyrics in operas. It’s also the most similar to Latin than any other romance language as French, Spanish and Portuguese. Moreover about 60 % of English words derive from Latin. Do you need another reason?
I have recently read two books by two brilliant female writers: Ghana must go by Taiye Selasi and The Lowland by Jumpa Lahiri.
There are many similarities between these two amazing women. They both grew up on the border between of two cultures. They both write about how to manage this difficult balance.
And they have another thing in common: they both speak Italian.
What’s their reason to learn Italian?