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 novelists have so forcefully expressed the sense that the age they describe is a shaping force in the conduct of their characters. The Silent Duchess has the richness of a saga, and Maraini weaves striking scenes into the narrative with an ease, both memorable and inevitable.' 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

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 novelists have so forcefully expressed the sense that the age they describe is a shaping force in the conduct of their characters. The Silent Duchess has the richness of a saga, and Maraini weaves striking scenes into the narrative with an ease, both memorable and inevitable.' 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

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

About the author

  • Dacia Maraini

    Novelist, poet and playwright, Dacia Maraini has been awarded Italy's top two literary prizes, the Premio Strega and the Premio Campiello. Her fiction, which has been published in 22 countries, includes Woman at War, Isolina, Voices and the worldwide best-seller The Silent Duchess. Darcia Maraini lives in Rome.

    Titles by Dacia Maraini