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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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From the Land of the Moon Paperback – December 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609450019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450014
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #951,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In her debut novel, Agus follows the fortunes of a Sardinian woman whose adventures begin as WWII comes to an end; the unnamed narrator is her granddaughter who is about to be married. The woman had suitors, but with no firm proposals by 30, she was forced into a marriage to a widower whose experiences in the brothel dictate their life in the bedroom. Several miscarriages and kidney stones later, she is sent to thermal baths on the mainland for a cure, where she takes as her lover a war veteran whose kindness is in stark contrast to her husband's indifference. The veteran has a wife and daughter in Milan and she returns home to give birth to a son. Years later, she searches for her lost love, wandering the streets of Milan. The narrator constantly amends the tale, demonstrating the uncertainty of stories passed down. Agus's descriptions of the everyday are as beautiful and haunting as her portrayal of life's most dramatic episodes. Add an unexpected ending and the result is a graceful, powerful book. (Jan.)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Leslie VINE VOICE on February 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
In this debut novel by Milena Agus, a young unnamed Italian women pieces together the story of her grandmother's life, a tale that spans three generations and two families. Translated from Italian, this beautiful book retains it's lyrical prose. The passion of her grandmother's bittersweet life and the picturesque descriptions of Italy flowed from the pages.

The story begins begins in Sardinia, Italy near the end World War II. Grandmother had just married at age 30 and was considered a bit of an old maid. Her father had forced her to marry the first man who asked, an older widower who she diden't love. Her family was convinced she scared away all the other suitors by writing them love poems and her own mother thought she was a little bit crazy, perhaps from the land of the moon.

After 10 years of marriage and several miscarriages grandmother still had no children. Kidney stones were blamed and she was sent to the thermal baths on the mainland for a cure. It was there that she met the Veteran and immediately fell in love with him. Nine months later she gave birth to a son and the spa treatment was considered a success. She never tells anyone about the Veteran but longs for her lost love all her life.

There was always more to grandmother's life than our narrator knew. After her death the granddaughter finds a book and a letter that had been hidden away. While some questions are now answered, others are raised that made me wonder about what was real and what was imagined. I'm being vague because I don't want to spoil this for anyone who decides to read the book. I will say that the ending was very haunting and powerful and that families will go to many lengths to protect their secrets.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
The narrator of this charming but insubstantial-seeming little novella tells the story of her Grandmother, growing up in Sardinia between the wars, marrying in 1943 after having been given up as an old maid, but meeting the love of her life only in 1950. This meeting, in a spa where she had been sent for kidney stones, lasts only a few weeks, but it dominates the rest of her long life. We also hear about the narrator's father, who became a concert pianist, her flutist mother, and her repressed maternal grandmother with secrets in her own past. The pleasures of the book lie in its simplicity, its glimpses of Sardinian life which seems to have preserved old attitudes longer than on the mainland, and especially in the character of the Grandmother herself, whose character is full of continual surprises that sometimes verge on madness, but also take on some of the qualities of art.

Art, indeed, is the subtext of the entire novella, which is essentially a mystery: where did the talents of the narrator's parents (and by implication of the writer herself) come from? The encounter with the cultured and handsome man at the spa is an obvious answer, but Agus looks into others that may lie deeper. Into the glorious jangle of the island itself, for example, where "if you look down you can see the roofs, the geranium-dotted terraces and the drying laundry, and the agave plants on the cliffs and the life of the people, which seems to you truly small and fleeting, yet also joyful"? Into the contrast between that joy and the island's innate conservatism. Or into some more intimate disorder, just a step away from madness.

For the suitors who visited the Grandmother on successive Wednesdays, then made excuses not to return, were convinced that she was mad.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable"

So says Juliet to Romeo, and, as hinted at by Juliet, love does prove variable and more than a bit surreal in Milena Agus' novella, "From the Land of the Moon". When I choose to sit down and read a book from cover to cover it means one of two things: it is a short book; and/or it is one that gets to me from the opening pages. In this case, both are applicable. I picked the book up because the publisher, Europa Editions, has a penchant for finding excellent books that have not yet seen their way into an English translation. I sat down in the bookstore and started reading. I didn't stop until I was almost finished (and running late) and went home and finished it.

Translated from Italian, "From the Land of the Moon" gives us the story of the life of a Sardinian woman as seen through the eyes of her granddaughter. A handsome woman, but unwed, at age 30 (in 1943) she seems destined for the life of a spinster. But fate, and an arranged marriage to a widower, intervenes. The marriage seems at first to be loveless and doomed to be childless but a rather striking decision by the seemingly unloved wife and trip to a mainland sanitarium to be treated for kidney stones (that seem to cause her regular miscarriages) changes her life forever.

As the woman's life is uncovered, layer by layer I was struck by how each revelation surprised me. The surprises weren't bizarre by any stretch but they did challenge the perceptions I developed as the story developed. It also struck me that the story was so much more than a story of a woman's life. It was a story about art and music and literature and its place in a society that does not on its surface seem to provide a hospitable home for it.
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