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La Mennulara
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La Mennulara

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  733 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Un racconto che si muove a spirale intorno alla figura di Maria Rosalia Inzerillo, conosciuta come "la Mennulara". Ora è morta e tutto il paese di Roccacolomba si chiede chi è stata davvero. Tutti ne parlano, tutti hanno in qualche modo avuto a che fare con lei, tutti sanno e non sanno, c'è chi la odia e la maledice e chi la ricorda con gratitudine se non con venerazione. ...more
Paperback, 209 pages
Published 2004 by Feltrinelli (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,482)
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Tea Jovanović
Prelepa knjiga ugledne italijanske autorke... Obratite pažnju na nju... Nažalost, na srpski je prevedena samo jedna njena knjiga, ali ne gubim nadu da ću opet uspeti da nagovorim nekog srpskog izdavača da je objavljuje, a mislim da na hrvatskom nikada nije objavljena...
Pierre Menard
Jul 15, 2014 Pierre Menard rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Who loves the hot sensuality of Southern Italy
Recommended to Pierre by: Chiara
Una vicenda che si svolge nell’arco di 30 giorni, tra il settembre e l’ottobre 1963 nel paese siciliano di Roccacolomba, inventato dall’autrice, ma terribilmente realistico. Una vita, quella di Maria Rosalia Inzerillo, intesa la Mennulara (raccoglitrice di mandorle), raccontata da una pluralità di voci e situata tra gli anni Venti e gli anni Sessanta del boom economico ed edilizio. Una storia in absentia: la protagonista infatti muore nelle prime pagine, ma rimane per tutto il libro al centro de ...more
Maria Grazia
La stessa Sicilia del Gattopardo, solo qualche anno dopo, e ci sembra persa nei secoli, con la sua rigida divisione in caste, il cui ascensore sociale formato da una miscela di furberia, furto, prevaricazione. La totale mancanza di solidarietà, la maldicenza come modo di vita, la mollezza e l'ignoranza.
Sulla base di questo affresco sapientemente dipinto dalla scrittrice, si muove la Mennulara, bimba selvatica e violata, donna orgogliosa, intelligente e permalosa nella sua ignoranza, capace di an
...more
katherine brown
Jul 09, 2007 katherine brown rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women
Although the writing style is not what I typically enjoy, the story is remarkable. It starts from the end of Mennulara's life to the beginning and unravels the mystery behind all her struggles. This book is full of different characters in a small Sicilian town. While all the other characters seem quite simple the main character is fascinating and complex. Later the reader learns how she came to be the individual in the end and understands that life's tolls and terrors shape a person, but their s ...more
Anna Tomasso
Bellissimo, grazie Samantha per avermelo regalato
Marcoinz
Non aggiungo altro al commento di Andrea Camilleri..."...Il mio vuole in sostanza essere un avvertimento ai lettori: prendete in mano questo libro con estrema cautela, non abbandonatevi fiduciosi al suo apparentemente tranquillo narrare. A leggere questo romanzo si prova un autentico godimento, esperienza certamente inconsueta con la nostra letteratura. Attenzione però, siate vigili, perché ci sono imprevedibili trabocchetti, sornioni depistaggi, improvvisi colpi di coda ai quali non si è prepar ...more
Kathy Stewart
Review - The Almond Picker by Simonetta Agnello Hornby
Mennulara, the almond picker, is dead and leaves behind her a legacy of suspicion and hatred. Does she deserve her tarnished reputation? Perhaps. Certainly, as this beautifully written story unfolds, we’re given an insight into her life in Sicily as she grows from a poverty-stricken skinny, long-legged girl to the hard-faced and hard-hearted woman she became. Why, as a lowly servant to the Alfallipe family, does she have the protection of the
...more
Dimity
I was originally drawn to this book because of its Sicilian setting, expecting a typical historic fiction novel. However, I found very little of the description I am used to and The Almond Picker is much more a story that happens to be set in 1963 Sicily than a historic fiction novel. I thought the style of this novel was a bit gimmicky at first and there is an overwhelmingly large cast of characters that I couldn’t keep track of or their many relationships with each other. Like most translated ...more
Cathyb
Who was Mennulara, The Almond Picker ? That is the question to be answered in Ms. Hornby's debut novel. At a very young age, she became the maid for a wealthy local family and eventually became the indispensable administrator of their affairs. Was she just a servant? Rumors and speculation abound as the story unfolds. Everyone has their own opinion as to the type of person she was and what she did in life to get to where she was.

This novel starts with the death of Mennulara and an unusual reque
...more
Giangian
Ambientato nella Sicilia degli anni ’60, il romanzo si apre con la morte della Mennulara, cameriera ed amministratrice delle fortune degli Alfalippe, una delle famiglie più ricche del paese di Roccacolomba.
In vita è stata una donna misteriosa, tenace, schiva ed è naturale che intorno al suo ricordo si scateni una curiosità morbosa, condita da sentimenti contrastanti e da un mistero che si risolverà solo alla fine, quando però l’attenzione di tutti è scemata, condannando la figura della Mennulara
...more
Marina Shemesh
The Almond Picker by Simonetta Agnello Hornby opens with the death of the main character, La Mennulara, or Mennu for short. The doctor who watched her die, hands the anxious heirs a cryptic note and so begins the story of the fascinating Mennu.

We learn that Mennu started to support her family at a very young age by picking almonds. Later she worked as a servant for the Alfallipe family and ended up being their very savvy administrator.

The story of La Mennulara, which means almond picker in Sicil
...more
Ilaria
Romanzo che si snoda in una settimana e mezza, sullo sfondo della Sicilia dei primi anni '60.
I protagonisti sono la Mennulara, domestica e amministratrice della famiglia Alfallipe, nella quale troviamo:
il capofamiglia Orazio, donnaiolo e ricco padrone che spende e spande per i suoi tanti e temporanei passatempi,
la moglie Adriana, brava donna, ma cieca ai mille tradimenti del marito, probabilmente perché ha pochissima esperienza del mondo e non vede malignità negli altri,
i figli Lilla, Gianni
...more
Cristina
Bel ritratto di una Sicilia immutabile suo malgrado, con caste sociali inamovibili in cui restano impantanati tanto i notabili che il popolino, con tutti i personaggi che sono più dedito alla chiacchiera e al pettegolezzo che a qualunque altra attività.
La figura della Mennulara si rivela lentamente, attraverso il racconto che di lei fanno coloro che leggono il misterioso e inusuale necrologio pubblicato dagli inetti Alfallipe di cui era la serva apparente ma a cui nemmeno dopo morta riescono a s
...more
Lisa
I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about this book. I was intrigued at first, then became confused by the huge cast of characters and was tempted to abandon it – but found my interest reignited when the plot began to resolve into a more coherent whole.

It’s the story of Maria Rosalia Inzerillo, also known as La Mennulara, a nickname she retained from her days as an impoverished almond-picker. In the small town of Roccacolomba there were few options during her childhood: Sicily was still a highly strati
...more
Gauss74
Questo "La mennulara" è un romanzo che non solo mi è piaciuto molto più del previsto, ma che ha segnato un passaggio nelle mie letture: è riuscito nell'impresa che consideravo impossibile di riconciliarmi col Verismo, e di questo sarò grato alla hornby (letterariamente, si intende).
La storia si svolge in una piccola cittadina siciliana alla metà del Novecento: rappresenta un ritratto fresco, vivace e vitale della gente dell'isola, fotografata nelle sue reazioni, nei suoi pettegolezzi, nelle sue
...more
Jen Beuning
One of those rare books that I'm just relieved to be done with.
Clare O'Beara
Any translated work necessarily loses something of the original and I believe that this book would be best read in the language of its people. Having said that, I found it an excellent introduction to lives and times. Like Spain, Sicily remained feudal into the twentieth century, when land holdings began to be broken up, and the stratified society of the 1960s is shown to us by recalling the life of a servant, la Mennulara (the girl who picks almonds).

The island tensions of masters and servants
...more
Georgiana 1792
Il libro si apre con la morte della Mennulara, il 23 settembre del 1963: tutto il paese — sia chi la conosceva bene, sia chi lo fa per semplice curiosità (o meglio, pettegolezzo) — ricostruisce quella che è stata la vita di questa donna, avvolta dal mistero: come ha potuto quella bambina di sei anni, costretta ad andare a lavorare nei campi, a raccogliere le mandorle per mantenere la famiglia, diventare una donna tanto ricca e temuta, l’amministratrice da cui dipendono le sorti stesse della fami ...more
Kat Hagedorn
http://tinyurl.com/5wdmj9

I wonder how many books are about maids, or at least books in which maids figure prominently. The servant in this story dies seconds before the tale begins, making for an intriguing beginning. Mennulara has taken care of the Alfallipe family in Sicily for years, but she was no ordinary maid, and her life is told in fits and starts as the novel progresses.

Which I guess is my main criticism of it. For more than half the story, we only hear from the villagers guessing who M
...more
Victoria
This was a unique and quite enjoyable read. I really liked it! The whole story - the life of a woman who died on the book's very first page - unraveled in an original fashion. It is very rare to get the entire story from only the perspective of what seemed like the whole town in the cast of characters. It reminded me of Joanne Harris's _Chocolat_ in the way gossip operated in the small town, the vast cast of characters and the mystery surrounding the central character. I think the translation wa ...more
Miina
Jan 08, 2008 Miina rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the quiet ponderer type
This book received mediocore reviews despite it being a bestseller in Italy. It's been described as a potboiler, a mega-family saga and a classic Sicilian novel in some of the more friendly (read lukewarm) reviews. Many of the complaints address the book's flat style of prose but having not read it in its original Italian, I’m hesitant to say whether that is the author's fault or the translator's fault. While I wasn't enthralled by the story, I was interested enough in getting to the end to see ...more
Niki Costantini
Non si può certo dire che a Simonetta Agnello Hornby manchi il ritmo della narrazione. Avevo scritto tempo fa nel commento per un altro suo libro (La monaca), che, tuttavia, non mi convinceva fino in fondo. Ora, leggendo La Mennulara ho capito cos’è: il birigano snob da (ex) nobile siciliana che traspare spesso dai suoi lavori, specialmente quelli non narrativi, e che trovo veramente fastidioso. Cosa che manca del tutto in questo suo romanzo, probabilmente perché opera prima. Quel che risalta qu ...more
Frank
Questa era per me la prima lettura di uno scritto di Simonetta Agnello Hornby. Sono soddisfatto del libro. Le tradizioni radicate e radicali sono l'aspetto predominante del racconto. La superiorità della volontà maschile nei confronti della donna e la salvaguardia dell'onore prima di ogni altra cosa, sono le regole di facciata da rispettare a tutti i costi. Sembra di essere all'interno del film su Salvatore Giuliano e infatti il periodo storico è proprio quello. Alla fine quello che bisogna dire ...more
Ita
A servant dies and leaves detailed instructions to be carried out after her death. They aren't carried out exactly and complications ensue. In dribs and drabs by a *lot* of people, we are given details of her life. Like a lot of others, I had difficulty keeping the characters and their relationships straight, maybe because the plethora of Italian names started all sounding alike.

I only finished this because it was a selection of our book club. [We sure pick a lot of duds!] The heroine was not pa
...more
Kristen
There are so many good and bad things about this book. The infidelity always gets me - not my favorite thing. But the story - the way Mennulara messes with the Alfillepes - so priceless. I'm sure that the author wanted to make it true to the character of Italians and therefore had to make the men pigs. I don't know any Italians, but it seems that any book or movie about true/native Italians has to include affairs - which the wives may or may not know about. I guess it's just a culture I don't un ...more
Yvonne
Set in beautiful Sicily, this is a page turner. A maid named Mennulara, who became the administrator of a rich family's estate dies and the town can talk of nothing else. The Alfallipe family awaits Mennulara's money, but rails against her in death. The townspeople reminicse about Mennulara and have even more to talk about when the Don of the regions Mafia family shows up at her funeral. How did Mennulara who was born in severe poverty, with no education become such a successful estate administr ...more
MJ
This book was recommended to me by a colleague. It was a bit difficult to find, as it was originally published in Italian, and brought to the US market for a brief time.

However, once it fell into my hands, I had a difficult time putting it down. It's not a quick read exactly (336 pages), but the characters are intriguing and the chapters are relatively short, so it was easy to tear through a bunch of pages at one sitting.

I really appreciated the author's device of crafting each chapter as if it
...more
Cecelia Hightower
I had a very difficult time getting started with this book; the writing is very different. But I couldn’t stop reading…. The story takes place in Sicily and begins with the death of the main character. The following story centers on a family’s response to the will left by a servant that worked for their family since the age of 13. Every family member and every village character have memories of Mennulara that creates a mystery about her life story. As soon as the chaos ends and the emotional res ...more
Emma
I picked up this book at the library when I was looking for a Nick Hornby book and I was pleased that I did. The story is about a woman who was a servant for an upper class family in Sicily. It opens with her death and the story is told from the perspective of the family and many people in the town as they try to figure out the mysteries of who she was and how she was wealthy herself. It was interesting to have her develop through the eyes of so many other people (although sometimes a little har ...more
Elizabeth

This is the story of the reaction of a small town in Sicily to the death of one of its inhabitants, the faithful servant of one of the town's faded aristocratic families. The servant, known to all as La Mennulara, was beloved by some and reviled by others. Much about her was very secret and secretive, and the novel reads like a mystery that is slowly solved by the town's inhabitants as they gossip and trade information about La Mennulara until the pieces of her life start to come back together.
...more
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10190
Simonetta Agnello Hornby, is an Italian lawyer and writer born in Palermo in 1945, who later acquired British citizenship. She left Sicily at the age of 21 to get married in England. Simonetta Agnello Hornby studied English at Cambridge before returning to her native Sicily to complete a law degree. Armed with a Fullbright grant she moved to America for a year to furthered her studies. She returne ...more
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