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La Mennulara

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  913 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
Un grande romanzo "siciliano". Un grande ritratto di donna. Una storia fitta di misteri, di ombre, di caratteri. Un racconto che si muove a spirale intorno alla figura di Maria Rosalia Inzerillo, conosciuta come "la Mennulara" (la raccoglitrice di mandorle). Ora e morta e tutto il paese di Roccacolomba si chiede chi e stata davvero. Una profittatrice? Una pedina della mafi ...more
Paperback, I Narratori, 209 pages
Published 2002 by Feltrinelli
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,858)
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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...
Maria Grazia
Mar 25, 2016 Maria Grazia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 liked it  ·  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
Pierre Menard
Jul 15, 2014 Pierre Menard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Marina Shemesh
Dec 12, 2014 Marina Shemesh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Anna Tomasso
Apr 05, 2011 Anna Tomasso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bellissimo, grazie Samantha per avermelo regalato
Marcoinz
Feb 13, 2010 Marcoinz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2012 Kathy Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 04, 2009 Cathyb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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 requ
...more
Giangian
Nov 14, 2010 Giangian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Geeky Bookers - 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
May 19, 2014 Cristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 31, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, c21st, translation
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
Jan 24, 2014 Gauss74 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feltrinelli
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
Sandy
Jul 06, 2012 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in Scilily in 1960's tells the story of a woman who rose from a humble servant to control the fortunes of the family she served. It was told after her death and in the days after her funeral by the people in the village where she lived in the form of anecdotes and reminisces over the years of her life. Wonderful writing of village life.
Lilirose
Un bello spaccato sulla Sicilia provinciale e chiusa degli anni '60. Al centro della narrazione c'è ovviamente lei, La Mennulara, ma la troviamo già morta all'inizio del romanzo e l'unico modo che avremo per conoscerla saranno i ricordi dei vari personaggi che hanno incrociato il suo cammino. Attraverso i flashback ci viene presentata una donna forte, piena di luci e ombre: una figura indimenticabile per chiunque l'abbia conosciuta, e di riflesso anche per noi lettori. Ho particolarmente apprezz ...more
Liliflaj
Mar 16, 2016 Liliflaj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vulkan
Beautiful and terrible story of secret love
Gail Richmond
May 24, 2016 Gail Richmond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Translated from the Italian, The Almond Picker is the story of a woman who has just died, but whose life has affected many in the small town in Sicily where she lived. It is an amazing character study told through essentially rumor and gossip from many points of view. Humorous, sad, poignant, and above all, the story of a person, a human with all the faults and foibles and failings everyone has, dealing with life as best she can. A positive affirmation of people and the old "telephone" game that ...more
Laura
Feb 09, 2016 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book involved many characters with very Italian names and a story that constantly jumped from one thing to the next. Mennulara, the Almond Picker and family caretaker or maid, was central in the story after her death. The best comparison I can make is that of Soap Opera that winds itself around all of the significant people in the town and Mennu's relationship with the children of the family for which she had worked. The children, now adults, are greedy, lazy and self-centered. In the end, ...more
Kathy
Jan 26, 2016 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Expectations were greater because I had hoped for humor and charm where there was ugliness and pettiness. This book is a tad challenging to read as it starts with main character in death throes, and then her story is slowly revealed through gossip of people in Sicilian town who may or may not have known the truth about this woman. I am a fan of Andrea Camilleri so I was happy to find this on the shelf...thinking I would get a loving portrayal of Sicilian life. It is not at all in that category. ...more
Jen Beuning
May 08, 2012 Jen Beuning rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of those rare books that I'm just relieved to be done with.
Clare O'Beara
Jul 19, 2014 Clare O'Beara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, europe
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
Mar 09, 2010 Kat Hagedorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, fiction
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 liked it  ·  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
Jan 29, 2011 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scambio
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
Lauren
Sep 07, 2015 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it took a little while to become fully immersed into the story of, "The Almond Picker," as I neared the end of the novel, I couldn't put the book down. It was so interesting to learn about the complexities of Mennulara's life post-mortem and especially through the eyes of so many different people. With that being said, the novel certainly did drag at times, and for that reason, I can't give it more then three stars.
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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 returned ...more
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