ebook A Novel

By Michela Murgia

cover image of Accabadora

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One of Elena Ferrante’s “Best 40 books by Female Writers”

This Italian bestseller is a “timeless portrait of village life in Sardinia circa 1950s” as it “tells the story of a young girl adopted by a remarkable woman who stands at the threshold of life and death” (Susan Sherman, author of The Little Russian).

Sardinia, 1950s: Formerly beautiful and at one time betrothed to a fallen soldier, Bonaria Urrai has a long-held covenant with the dead. She is revered and feared in equal measure as the village’s Accabadora, midwife to the dying, easing their suffering—and sometimes ending it.
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.
Written with intriguing subtlety, this Italian best-seller has been awarded 7 major literary prizes, including Italy’s prestigious Premio Campiello.