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The Church of Solitude Paperback – Aug 15 2002
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From Library Journal
Italian author Deledda left over 60 works when she died in 1936, shortly after this novel was published. Though the prolific author won the Nobel prize in 1926, she was largely unrecognized in her homeland. This work is the story of Maria Concezione, a Sardinian seamstress who, at 28, undergoes surgery for breast cancer, the disease that killed the author. It is the beginning of the 20th century, and Concezione lives with her mother, Maria Giustina. After her diagnosis, Concezione eschews thoughts of marriage and a future and resigns herself to tending the small church built by her grandfather to atone for his sins. The story reads like a fairy tale, though one turned on its head. Instead of our "princess" being rescued from her fate, she transforms the young men who are suddenly thrust upon her as suitable husbands. But can she turn her back on Aroldo, the young laborer with big dreams for whom she does have feelings? This tale of faith and strength in the face of illness is beautiful. Though written more than 65 years ago, it is still timely, with its portrayal of a woman who lays blame for her disease on her past and her wavering devotion. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. - Bette-Lee Fox, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
The Church of Solitude tells the story of Maria Concezione, a young Sardinian seamstress living with breast cancer at the cusp of the twentieth century. Overwhelmed by the shame of her diagnosis, she decides that no one can know what has happened to her, but the heavy burden of this secrecy changes her life in dramatic ways and almost causes the destruction of several people in her life. This surprising novel paints the portrait of a woman facing the unknown with courage, faith, and self-reliance, and is the last and most autobiographical work of Grazia Deledda, who died of breast cancer in 1936, shortly after its publication. An afterword by the translator offers additional information on the author and examines the social and historical environment of that time. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"The Church of Solitude" tells the story of a relatively young (28 years old) rural Sardinian woman who has had a mastectomy. Her doctor tells her to take it easy; no emotional involvement, peace and quiet, no overworking, and to expect the disease to return in about 10 years. The author gives us a vivid picture of a completely demoralized woman trying to deal with this reality. She returns home confused about how to approach with the rest of her life. She gets some advice from her priest (focus on serving others) while she is also dealing with the very real desires within her. The book does a good job of examining the conflicting messages of the doctor, the priest, and her own emotions. Oddly, as her self-esteem declines, the number of suitors increases (she has invested well). The competition of her suitors leads to a mystery that helps add an additional level of interest to the book. In a subtley presented way, the heroine, Concezione, is able to realize a direction that will enable her to accommodate the doctor, the priest, and herself.
"The Church of Solitude" was translated by E. Ann Matter and, while I can't comment on the translation, I do appreciate her inclusion of a good biography of the author and some literary observations as well.
I came away from "The Church of Solitude" with an appreciation that God's healing powers don't bring health as much as they bring peace. Health doesn't necessarily heal a troubled mind the way peace can cure an attitude about a troubled body. Grazia Deledda does an excellent job in bringing this out and it is the essential beauty of "The Church of Solitude"