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.