Accabadora. Synopsis: Formerly beautiful and at one time betrothed to a fallen soldier, Bonaria Urrai has long held covenant with the dead. Michela Murgia, trans. from the italian by Silvester Mazzarella. of the Mediterranean isle, Bonaria is known as the accabadora, a word drawn. Buy Accabadora by Michela Murgia, Silvester Mazzarella from Amazon’s Fiction Books Store. Everyday low prices on a huge range of new releases and classic.

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Accabadora is about adoption. And while, overall, Michela Murgia has put out a well-written novel winning multiple awards for me the plot became increasingly uneven the more I read.

On one hand — life is uneven, messy and essentially just a string of random events. On the other — novels are edited objects, we expect an author to perform a certain amount of curating in order in creating a narrative.

Bonaria Urrai is a seamstress in a small village on the island of Sardinia. She was once betrothed, but her fiance died in World War II. When the book opens accabaxora adopts Maria, the youngest daughter of a crass, indifferent woman.

Reviews Accabadora Michela Murgia

In the local form of open-adoption, her mother gives Maria to Bonaria Urrai to raise as her own child. Regardless, there is no shame attached to anyone involved in the transaction.

And yet she retains her connection to her birth mother and sisters. Bonaria Urrai also has a second life, one which she keeps a secret murgiia Maria. Everyone accabadofa the village knows the role this woman plays, and revere her for it… michepa, inexplicably in my opinion, Maria. How she finds out and reacts is the climactic moment of the story.


Maria leaves Sardinia and travels to Genoa to become the nanny to a rich family. This amounts to not much more than a strange interlude with little connection to the overall narrative. It ends when she loses her job and is a bit too conveniently summoned home to care for the dying Bonaria.

She has no post-modern, experimental agenda. To sell the plot they must be defined and believable. They were neither, and as a result I had a hard time buying in. The prose is an entirely different matter.

Each paragraph is carefully composed. As she cut the onion into thin slices, Maria mulled obsessively over accabadofa difference, arranging the ingredients for supper with the same hypnotic slowness with which she was trying to order her thoughts.

As she cut the tomato into pieces, she could see again the figure of the old dressmaker huddled by the fire that same morning, fully dressed and with her hair done as if she had just come home, or already knew that she would soon need to go out. It was the first time such a thought had ever struck Maria, and she did not know how to cope with this suspicion which fitted so badly with the confidence she felt in the woman who had taken her to be her daughter.

Bonaria could not possibly have lied to her, because there are things you should do and things you should not do, she reminded herself as she dropped the rest of the finally chopped vegetables into the sizzling oil.


The wooden spoon evoked fragrances and memories among the browning onions and, as she slowly stirred them, Maria opened herself to both, and remembered an afternoon from many years before, only a few months after she had first become soul-daughter to Tzia Bonaria. Accabadora is filled with wonderful and delicate moments like this; writing that creates a setting and context that make sense; scenes you can step into.

I type my criticisms with trepidation.

Reviews Accabadora Michela Murgia

The fact remains there is a lot of promise in these first pages. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

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