Silent Duchess, The

Silent Duchess, The

Set in the mid-18th century, Dacia Maraini's unforgettable novel tells the story of three generations of the Ucria family, seen through the watchful eyes of the deaf-mute Duchess Marianna. Married at 13 to her own uncle and set apart from other people by her disablity, she relentlessly searches for fulfilment in a society where women either face marriage and endless child-bearing or a life of renunciation within the walls of a convent.

Won the Premio Campiello, Italy's most prestigious literary prize

Sold over a quarter of a million copies

Winner of the monthly 'Independent' Award for Foreign Fiction

'Set in eighteenth-century Italy the story of our heroine, Marianna, and of her family is a fascinating one which manages totally to overpower the reader with its narrative urgency. Maraini brilliantly conveys the mixture of luxury and squalor in which the Sicilian aristocracy lived, and with great skill, communicates every detail through the eyes and nostrils of her Silent Duchess.' Evening Standard

'Few other historical novelists have so forcefully expressed the sense that the age they describe is a shaping force in the conduct of their characters – an astonishing achievement.' Independent

'The Silent Duchess succeeds through its accretion of details. A vivid and hushed account, Maraini's portrayal of the Duchess Marianna's life is blanketed in a strange beauty, like the snow-muffled landscape of winter.' Observer

'Dacia Maraini is an artist of considerable power. The Silent Duchess is a novel that would have delighted Nabokov. It is brimming with detail, vividly presented in a style that is abrupt, spiky, and yet luxuriant. Every page presents one with the unexpected. It arouses intense feeling, it provokes thought.' Scotsman

'Italy's most audacious female writer' Sunday Times

'Her best novel in years - interspersed with evocatively detailed descriptions of day-to-day life: smells, food, medicaments and contraptions of every kind' Times Literary Supplement

'A fiction of elegance and charm' Mail on Sunday

Price £: 
8.99
Paperback
Published: 
24 Jun 2010
ISBN: 
9781906413729
Available from:

Silent Duchess, The

Set in the mid-18th century, Dacia Maraini's unforgettable novel tells the story of three generations of the Ucria family, seen through the watchful eyes of the deaf-mute Duchess Marianna. Married at 13 to her own uncle and set apart from other people by her disablity, she relentlessly searches for fulfilment in a society where women either face marriage and endless child-bearing or a life of renunciation within the walls of a convent.

Won the Premio Campiello, Italy's most prestigious literary prize

Sold over a quarter of a million copies

Winner of the monthly 'Independent' Award for Foreign Fiction

'Set in eighteenth-century Italy the story of our heroine, Marianna, and of her family is a fascinating one which manages totally to overpower the reader with its narrative urgency. Maraini brilliantly conveys the mixture of luxury and squalor in which the Sicilian aristocracy lived, and with great skill, communicates every detail through the eyes and nostrils of her Silent Duchess.' Evening Standard

'Few other historical novelists have so forcefully expressed the sense that the age they describe is a shaping force in the conduct of their characters – an astonishing achievement.' Independent

'The Silent Duchess succeeds through its accretion of details. A vivid and hushed account, Maraini's portrayal of the Duchess Marianna's life is blanketed in a strange beauty, like the snow-muffled landscape of winter.' Observer

'Dacia Maraini is an artist of considerable power. The Silent Duchess is a novel that would have delighted Nabokov. It is brimming with detail, vividly presented in a style that is abrupt, spiky, and yet luxuriant. Every page presents one with the unexpected. It arouses intense feeling, it provokes thought.' Scotsman

'Italy's most audacious female writer' Sunday Times

'Her best novel in years - interspersed with evocatively detailed descriptions of day-to-day life: smells, food, medicaments and contraptions of every kind' Times Literary Supplement

'A fiction of elegance and charm' Mail on Sunday

Price £: 
5.99
eBook
Published: 
24 Jun 2010
ISBN: 
9781908129376
Available from:

About the author

  • Dacia Maraini

    One of Italy's foremost women writers, Dacia Maraini is the author of more than fifty books, including novels, plays, collections of poetry and critical essays. Her second novel, The Age of Discontent, won the international Prix Formentor, and she has been the recipient of two of Italy's highest literary honours, the Premio Campiello and the Premio Strega. Her novel The Silent Duchess, an international bestseller, was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Born in Florence, Dacia Maraini currently resides in Rome.

    Titles by Dacia Maraini