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The Seamstress of Sardinia

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.


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Bianca Pitzorno
About the Author

Bianca Pitzorno was born in Sardinia in 1942. Since 1970 she has published seventy works of fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children. Her books have sold more than two million copies in Italy and been translated into many languages. The Seamstress of Sardinia is the first of her adult works to be translated into English. Pitzorno has...

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About the Translator

Brigid Maher is senior lecturer in Italian Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne and has translated several works of contemporary Italian writing into English.

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Text publication date:
3 May 2022
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Praise for Bianca Pitzorno
andThe Seamstress of Sardinia

‘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.’

Other editions ofThe Seamstress of Sardinia