x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Accabadora: A mother and child seeking to understand each other

Set in a small Sardinian vilage, Michela Murgia weaves a tale of mutual commitments and misunderstandings between an adoptive mother and child.

Having won six major Italian literary prizes as well as the honour of being made into a feature film, Accabadora (the "finisher" or "one who completes") is a surprisingly light volume to behold, if only in its physical appearance. That Michela Murgia allows enough room to unfold the lives of her characters (who reside in a small town in Sardinia), within little more than 200 pages, is an impressive feat.

The story opens with its two female protagonists - the child Maria Listru and the elderly Bonaria Urai. From here, Murgia weaves their shared tale of mutual commitments and misunderstandings as an adoptive mother and child.

As the novel progresses, the plot fans out to include more characters who, though secondary in their conception, provide twists at all the right turns. It's a necessary step, often used by writers of Murgia's calibre, to send their protagonists on bumpy and eventful journeys into the dark.

Eloquent in narration, with a plot wound tight enough to ensure its players reach that elusive light after the darkness, Accabadora is a novel that warrants repeated reads.