desmond elliott prize Best Book (nominee)
Around 1900, the Salierno family, Italian peasant farmers, make a tough living in a village in a mountainous and volcanic region in the South. Their youngest daughter, Concetta, 15, is seriously injured in a devastating earthquake and, when she wakes up from a coma, suffers memory loss of everything leading up to the disaster. When she later discovers she is pregnant, her family marries her off hastily to neighbours who owe a debt of honour. Marriage arrangements according to traditional restrictions are also made for her sisters Nunzia and Immacolata, after their dangerous trip to the carnival at the neighbouring town of San Michele. Concetta, with the help of grieving signora Clara and her remaining son, Francesco, (Peppe having lost his life in the earthquake) tries to piece together the mysterious events that occurred before the earthquake. Continued doubt about the father of her child casts a shadow over her marriage and her family relationships, but her stoical determination leads through a personal journey of self-discovery, full of dramatic and revealing surprises. Concetta's future and past become gradually clearer through one long hot summer in a rocky landscape. The mystery of her memory loss is played out against a world of constant agricultural work, church, eel fishing in the river and the underground passages beneath the village.
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Used availability for Maria Allen's Before the Earthquake
See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
February 2010 : UK Paperback
|Title: Before the Earthquake|
Author(s): Maria Allen
ISBN: 1-906994-04-8 / 978-1-906994-04-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Tindal Street
Availability: Amazon Amazon UK