As one of just six nominees in the
fiction category, being shortlisted is quite an achievement in itself. And if Elise
wins her category she’ll be in the running for the overall prize, which is the
single most valuable literary award in Australia. As well as staying tuned for
the judges’ verdict, anyone can get involved by voting for the people’s choice award
with just one click.
Here’s what the judges have said about
The Madonna of the Mountains:
Madonna of the Mountains follows the life of an Italian peasant
woman across some of the most transformative historical flashpoints of the 20th
Century, from 1923 through to the early 1950s. Elise Valmorbida has written an
engrossing, nuanced novel that is an indictment of poverty and power and a
tribute to one woman’s resourcefulness, resilience and courage in the face of
civic and domestic oppression.
Maria Vittoria is
from an impoverished rural family, who sell her into an abusive marriage to
Achille. Maria and Achille have children and run a successful grocery shop that
is upended by the fascists during World War II. Blackmailed by a cousin, Maria
is forced to make compromises for her children and her husband that she can
barely live with. Valmorbida writes of the dynamics of motherhood – its
pleasures and its burdens – with great empathy and sensitivity.
Written with great
attention to the smallest details of village life – from the cultivation of
silk worms, to the preparation of meals, to the traditional expectations
surrounding marriage and family – this is a moving but unsentimental novel, one
that might be considered a rural counterpart to the works of Elena Ferrante in
its unflinching depiction of poverty, casual violence and the complicated
dynamics of family and village life. It is a triumph of a literary novel that
shifts in unexpected, utterly fascinating ways.”
Needless to say, it’s a great review.
Plus, in the 26
Recommends section of our September newsletter, fellow 26 member
Jane Chittenden described the novel as “My best holiday read ever.”
Good luck, Elise. We’ve all got our
fingers crossed for you.
– Sophie Gordon
Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.