Translated by Brigid Maher
The irresistible story of a young woman seeking freedom and happiness.
Born into poverty, the seamstress spends her days sewing in the houses of wealthy families. Her work is simple and honest; taught by her nonna, she skilfully prepares nightgowns, undergarments and children’s clothes, leaving the finer work of dressmaking to the ateliers in Paris.
Her story weaves in and out of the lives of the people she works for, whose secrets and scandals she is privy to. Some are kind and generous, others blinded by their desire to climb the social ladder. She dreams of freeing herself from the hardscrabble life she has inherited but can’t help being pulled back in by the love of the people around her.
Set at the dawn of the twentieth century, The Seamstress of Sardinia follows the girl as she grows into a woman, strives to educate herself and falls in love—always fighting for her independence in a world dominated by men and old social conventions.
INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS
Historical Novel Society
Readings: A spotlight on translated fiction this month
‘A delicate novel of women’s formation and emancipation.’
‘Pitzorno is an icon…[This novel] is yet another confirmation.’
‘Pitzorno is one of the greatest Italian writers…[This] is an extraordinary novel…Only a wise hand could draw the parallel between sewing and writing without making it trivial: Pitzorno succeeds in her most “political” book.’
‘Bianca Pitzorno’s unadorned storytelling brings an honest and sympathetic clarity to the story of a modest young woman living a, mostly, quiet life undermined but not totally defined by her poverty.’
‘Pitzorno interweaves commentary throughout about class relations…It is also a feminist work…Highly recommended for readers of Elena Ferrante and Isabel Allende, as well as lovers of Italian culture and history.’
‘The sartina’s voice may be, by turn, discerning, mutinous, self-protective and self-educated. Pitzorno plays all those notes.’
‘Pitzorno’s sparkling English-language debut [appears in] Maher’s seamless translation…This sumptuous costume drama has a lot of heart.’