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A Woman Reviews

A Woman by Sibilla Aleramo

A Woman

Sibilla Aleramo

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1 review

Imprint: Penguin Classics
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 7 May 2020
ISBN: 9780241345726
5 stars out of 5
26 May 2020

"a groundbreaking, earthquaking vision, a story and a manifesto"

As the title suggests, A Woman (in a new translation by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre; the book has been out of print since 1982) seeks to be both individual and universal, and its influence echoes still... This is a human story as well as a political one, and there is the blackest of comedy in scenes where, following her suicide attempt, the narrator’s sister-in-law asks her to sign a legal statement confirming that her husband was not to blame. But the greatest sadness comes when the tension between motherhood and “the better self that I had neglected” causes an inevitable crisis, revealing the book’s purpose. Aleramo left her son when he was aged six, in 1902, and wrote A Woman “so that my words will reach him”. It was more than 30 years before she would see him again.