After the Divorce
Grazia Deledda Northwestern University Press, 1995 Library of Congress PQ4811.E6N313 1995 | Dewey Decimal 853.8
The novel begins with Costantino Ledda's conviction and sentencing for the murder of his cruel uncle. Though innocent of the crime, he accepts the guilty verdict as punishment for marrying Giovanna Era through a civil ceremony rather than an expensive church wedding. When her husband is taken away, Giovanna has no way to provide for herself, her mother, and her son, who soon dies of malnutrition. Out of desperation she divorces Costantino, according to a new law for wives of convicts, and marries a wealthy but brutish landowner. When the true murderer confesses and Costantino returns, he and Giovanna begin a forbidden and ultimately destructive affair.
Deleda's tragic story of poverty, passion, and guilt portrays the primitive and remote world of the church, pre-Christian superstitions, and laws dictated from the mainland, in her native Sardinia, where society hangs in a delicate balance. Once this order is disrupted, none of these characters can escape the spiral of destruction dictated by fate, God, and society.
Grazia Deledda Northwestern University Press, 1995 Library of Congress PQ4811.E6E513 1995 | Dewey Decimal 853.8
Winner of the 1926 Novel Prize for Literature
After serving time in mainland Italy for a minor theft, Elias Portolu returns home to Nuoro, in rural Sardinia. Lonely and vulnerable after his prison exile, he falls in love with his brother's fiancée. But he finds himself trapped by social and religious strictures, his passion and guilt winding into a spiral of anguish and paralyzing indecision. For guidance he turns first to the village priest, who advises him to resist temptation; then he turns to the pagan "father of the woods," who recognizes the weakness of human will and urges him to declare his love before it is too late.