Isolina by Dacia Maraini

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Synopsis

Creating shockwaves when first published in Italy in the 1980s, this is a historical novel based on a true account of a grisly murder in turn-of-the-century Verona. In her relentless narrative based on interviews and contemporary accounts, Maraini has brought a long-submerged story of injustice and oppression to light. The fact that Isolina became pregnant by her lieutenant lover and refused to have an abortion was published in newspapers after the murder. Also known, but not reported, was the suspicion that she was probably murdered by soldiers who, protecting their comrade's reputation, tried to abort the pregnancy. The crime could easily have been solved, but evidence was destroyed by the state in efforts to defend the image of the military. Dacia Maraini is one of the best known writers in Italy. Her previous prize-winning novel, The Silent Duchess, sold 200,000 copies in Italy and was on the bestseller list for seventy weeks.
 

About Dacia Maraini

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Dacia Maraini was born in Florence in 1936. Her father's profession as an anthropologist and his antifascist stance led the family to emigrate to Japan where, during the war, they were confined for two years in concentration camps. In 1945 the family returned to Sicily and, when her parents separated in 1954, Dacia moved to Rome with her father. Maraini's first two novels, "La vacanza" (The Holiday) and "L'eta del malessere" (The Age of Indifference), published when she was twenty-six and twenty-seven, were instant international successes: the latter received the editors' international Formentor prize and was instantly translated into twelve languages. In 1990 Maraini sealed her international success with the publication of the novel "La lunga vita di Marianna Ucria" (The Silent Duchess, Feminist Press, 1992) which stayed on Italy's bestseller list for almost two years and won the prestigious Premio Campiello (Italy's equivalent of the us National Book Award). It was published to critical acclaim in fourteen languages. Several of her books have been made into films, and Maraini has also written screenplays for directors like Pier Paolo Pasolini, Carlo di Palma, and Margarethe Von Trotta. She is a prolific writer with more than fifty publications of novels, poetry, and plays. She lives in Rome, actively promoting theatre groups, playing a very active role in the literary scene, and speaking on tv and in national newspapers and magazines on the evolving economic and social conditions of Italian and European women. Vera Golini emigrated with her family to Canada from Abruzzo in 1956. She has been a professor of Italian studies at St. Jerome's University since 1975, and since 1997 has also directed the Women's Studies program at the University of Waterloo. She is currently president of the Canadian Society for Italian Studies.
 
Published December 2, 1994 by Peter Owen Ltd. 152 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Referencing period newspapers and other archival materials, Maraini reconstructs the events surrounding the turn-of-the-century murder and decapitation of Isolina Canuti, a young Veronese woman who had become pregnant by her lover, an army officer of noble stock.

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The Independent

Maraini makes good use of the transcripts, letting the witnesses and interrogators speak for themselves (though she adds her own partisan interpretations: it is not clear, for example, why she states so conclusively that Trivulzio was not Isolina's murderer.) But perhaps it is right that Isolin...

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