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Sworn Virgin (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 13. Mai 2014

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Taschenbuch, 13. Mai 2014
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  • Taschenbuch: 256 Seiten
  • Verlag: And Other Stories (13. Mai 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1908276347
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908276346
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 2,5 x 13,3 x 19 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 117.356 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"Elvira Dones is one of the most distinguished Albanian authors writing today. Astonishing, brilliant, and unabashed by taboos of any kind, she is as much at ease in Albanian as in the rest of European literature…. The protagonist of this novel passes through all the tribulations of this frightening transformation like the actor in some extraordinary role in a classical drama that hurtles towards its dénouement." Ismail Kadare

"Translated from Italian by Clarissa Botsford with effortless musicality … I couldn’t put it down. Dones’s ability to tell a politically and psychically complex story with such lightness of touch is down to her flowing, spring-clear prose and slyly subversive vision." Kapka Kassabova, Guardian (UK)

"This book by Elvira Dones grabs the attention with its subject matter even before you turn the first page ... As well as this unusual coming-of-age story, with its shadow of death and grief, Dones gives us a compelling portrait of life under communist rule, where "anyone who owns a pair of jeans in Tirana is rich and powerful". ... a fascinating story". Jonathan Gibbs, Independent (UK)

"A subtle, teasing examination of gender identity, cultural disorientation, and language as the basis of authentic personhood…" Nat Segnit, Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"A subtle and provocative novel which leaves the reader full of admiration for the strength and stoicism of those who choose a path like Hana’s. And bristling with questions about the hypocrisy of a society which treats women in skirts as intellectually, emotionally and physically inferior to men, yet accepts the total equality of a woman in trousers." Helen Brown, Sunday Telegraph (UK)

"The author puts a light touch on the issues of culture, immigration, gender tradition and race … The novel can be sensitive or brusque depending upon which sex is narrating." Harriet Addison, The Times (UK)

"A vindication of the PEN Writers in Translation Programme, which supported the publication of this tender, funny and arrestingly original novel." Jane Shilling, New Statesman (UK)

"...a fascinating study in duality and blurred identity which takes as its subject-matter imposed gender realignment … a brave book which tackles big themes such as tradition and modernity, exile and belonging while never losing sight of the individual faced with life choices that are constantly opening up certain freedoms while closing the door on others." New Internationalist

"The latest hidden gem uncovered by this publisher … There is more to the book than the unearthing of a remarkable tradition: Dones’ characters are vibrant and her portrait of life in the mountains and in Tirana, the capital, is vivid … Clarissa Botsford’s translation (from the Italian – Dones writes in Albanian and Italian) is elegant and sensitive." Jethro Soutar, Independent (UK)

"Dones’s deft and lively novel finds its sweet spot in a handful of dualities . . . Dones writes in a clean and breezy style, raising sly questions about culture, art, and, especially, gender. Her novel is provocative without being confrontational." Publishers Weekly

"A gripping, metamorphic tale. The themes of culture, gender, identity and family are explored with real understanding and piercing authenticity in this tender and arrestingly original novel." Which Book

‘Artfully written by one of Albania’s most distinguished authors, Sworn Virgin is a story that resonates far beyond one country’s borders.’ Elizabeth Milliard, Foreword Reviews

‘This tight, utterly original story…Sworn Virgin was made to be translated.’ Caite Dolan-Leach, The Quarterly Conversation

"It’s a fascinating premise for a novel and Dones handles it beautifully... told in simple, direct language making the confusion of her identity all the more effective. In other less-skilled hands this is a story that could have fallen flat on its face but Dones – and her translator Clarissa Botsford – deftly avoid prurient sensationalism. The final sentence makes you want to jump up and cheer." Susan Osborne, Shiny New Books

"Keen observations on the performance of gender, as well as a good deal of humor...The interactions between cousins, at times tender and loving, at times cantankerous and fraught with misunderstandings, give this novel great momentum and allow the characters to fully come alive on the page." Bitch Magazine

"Sworn Virgin is beautifully written, using small details to build scenes that are rife with meaning … an incredibly engrossing read, telling a story that is both engaging and transcendent." Beth Mellow, Bookslut

"Elvira Dones‘s engaging novel, Sworn Virgin (translated from Italian by Clarissa Botsford and regrettably the only Dones novel available in English), not only unpacks these fascinating gender questions, but transplants the issue between two nations." Edward Champion, Reluctant Habits

"Dones has a light and easy way of writing so that the story sweeps you along … The strength in Dones’s writing is in the characterisation." Belinda Farrell, Biis Books

"Without having to travel all over the world, one way to get to know other countries is through reading modern literature of that area. That is what we get with [Sworn Virgin]; a glimpse into the world of Albania . . . a place many people would be hard-pressed to find on a map, a place whose culture or customs are little known by the outside world." Kevin Winter, San Francisco Book Review

"Dones style is pared back and clean, letting the emotional honesty at the heart of our protagonists’ story shine through." Marie Claire Conlin, For Books’ Sake

"Elvira Dones offers an emotionally involving account of an Albanian sworn virgin." The Big Issue (UK)

"The circumstances around Hana/Mark’s choices are convincingly described without sensationalism. Mark’s double culture shock, as an immigrant and as someone unused to traditional femininity, is also nicely handled. This is an engaging and absorbing novel that gives both an emotional experience and a good deal to think about." Emerald Street

"These are books that, even if I don’t have time to read them, I must own. As a complete set. That’s powerful in terms of marketing and branding, and is one—of many—things that And Other Stories has done right in launching their press." Three Percent

"A thought-provoking story … Sworn Virgin works very well, and Dones is especially good at showing the struggles Hana faces in dropping the Mark persona, with Hana having to deal with much more than just superficial, cosmetic changes." Tony Malone, Tony’s Reading List

"Important notice: Elvira Dones' Sworn Virgin (tr. Clarissa Botsford) is one of those books that once you stop reading you just can't put it down … Of all the books I've read for WITMonth so far, there's no doubt in my mind that Sworn Virgin is the most thought-provoking … Sworn Virgin emerges as a wholly fascinating account of gender roles … completely worth reading." Biblio

"Dones does a good job of showing the complexities of gender, identification, society and culture." Biblio

"Ms. Dones has a gift for slowly opening up her characters … Sworn Virgin is a fascinating novel, and highly recommended." Carolyn Oliver, Rosemary and Reading Glasses

"Fascinating reading. The word pictures of people and of those repressive climates; dictatorship, rural isolation and patriarchy; that condition them are set out in very compelling prose. If you have never been to rural Albania, reading this novel will transport you there and bring you back again safely. It would be well worth the journey." Michael Johnston, Akanos

"Sworn Virgin digs deeply into its protagonist’s psychology, and delineates the contours of her world." David Hebblethwaite

"Sworn Virgin is quite simply a character study, which follows a young woman as she learns to fall in love with her life." We Love This Book

"As ever And Other Stories have turned up a quirky novel about a part of the world I always wanted to know more about." Stu Allen, Winston’s Dad

"Sworn Virgin is a punchy and poetic novel, which takes the reader into what is likely to be a totally unfamiliar world and makes it vivid and engaging." Thom Cuell, The Workshy Fop

"There is so much in this book. It’s about family and sacrifice and immigration and culture and growing up and gender roles/identity in society. So much. And a good story too. The idea of effectively changing your gender in order to have the kind of life you want or need, or to have the place in society that suits you, is really interesting … Sworn Virgin is a brilliantly written, fascinating book about culture, gender and family." Laurent Binet, Mischief and Miscellany

"Elvira Dones deals with issues at the heart of western civilisation today, such as migrant and gender identity, and the tormented relationships we may have our bodies." Liliana Moro

"An intelligent and painful play on identity, and on the freedom of body and spirit." Lara Crinò, Repubblica Donne

"An unusual and beautiful Bildungsroman." Marilia Piccone, Stradanove

"Increasingly these days, true stories are turned into fiction, and novelists are able to tell these stories more successfully than journalists. Elvira Dones has finally given a voice to those Albanian women who hope one day to regain the femininity they once denied in order to be counted equal in society." Silvia Mazzocchi, Repubblica

"[Sworn Virgin] explores many binary oppositions—urban/rural, tradition/modernity, wealth/poverty, West/non-West, communism/capitalism, home/diaspora, male/female, body/soul—to reveal how sociopolitical forces mold individual lives. Ultimately, this spare but evocative novel portrays a woman who negotiates and finally reconciles those binaries to shape an identity that transcends history, tradition, and societal constraints." World Literature Today

"?[A]? very readable, enjoyable, gorgeous novel that deals with issues, serious and light, familiar and unfamiliar … That a novel covering such weighty issues as communism, patriarchal oppression, sexual violence, immigration and gender identity manages to be so warm and enjoyable is a huge achievement." Kate Gardner, Nose in a Book

"[A] fascinating psychological portrait but also a careful exploration of desire and personal transformation.’ Michelle Bailat-Jones, Necessary Fiction

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Born in Durrës, Albania, Elvira Dones is a novelist, screenwriter and documentary film-maker currently based in the US. After seven novels in Albanian, she wrote the two most recent in Italian, her adopted language: Vergine giurata (Sworn Virgin, 2007), and Piccola guerra perfetta (Small Perfect War, 2010) about the Kosovo war. In her prize-winning documentary on the phenomenon of ‘sworn virgins’ in Albania, Dones interviews twelve survivors of the tradition, one of whom has recently emigrated to the US, like Hana in the novel. A film of the book is due out in 2014.

Clarissa Botsford studied Italian at Cambridge and Comparative Education in London before moving to Rome, Italy. She has worked in the fields of teaching, intercultural education and publishing and is also a musician. She currently teaches English and Translation Studies at Rome University and translates contemporary Italian fiction and poetry.


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Von Piero Caracciolo am 22. Mai 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Sworn Virgin is a very interesting novel, that introduces you to some peculiar tradition of the Blakans, relating to gender issues. It does this through a passionating story, narrated by the author and the translator in a vibrating way. Strong, deep feelings animate each of the books pages and are felt by the reader.
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Amazon.com: 8 Rezensionen
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
"She had never regretted anything and she wasn't about to start now..." 28. August 2014
Von Friederike Knabe - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Elvira Dones' novel, Sworn Virgin, intrigued me as soon as I started reading the introduction. First, it was written by a little known Albanian writer - in the English speaking world -, from a country that has been closed to international attention for so long due to the political system and its very different language. Secondly, the novel here comes with an expert introduction by none other than the first interantionally known, award winning Albanian author, Ismail Kadare. Finally, I had recently read about the phenomenon of "sworn virgins" in the remote Albanian northern mountains, not realizing at the time that Elvira Dones had produced a prize winning documentary on the exact subject, based on interviews with recent women immigrants to the US who had lived through this experience.

Hana, the heroine of the novel, never expected to be confronted by the "choice to become a "sworn virgin", when she grew up. However, dificult family circumstances and ancient traditions lead her to the decision to "turn herself into a man". According to this rare Albanian custom and for a number of reasons, such as the absence of a male heir or head of household, a woman can publicly declare herself a man. This conversion is publicly declared, then respected in the community, and the woman gains all the rights of a man. But she has to remain a virgin, not only adding to her freedoms in social terms, but also giving up many others.

Elvira Dones has created a very believable and authentic character - both as Hana and as her alter identity, Mark - to delve deep into the complexities of such a dual life. Her depiction of comunity life, Hana's friends and family, the various reactions to her decision, is sensitively rendered and provide a rare glimpse into one particular traditional society whose traditions have not totally died out. Elvira Dones reveals Hana's backstory is interwoven with her present day efforts to build a life for herself in the United States. "She feels as though she is not herself; her name isn't Hana, her name isn't Mark. This feels like someone else's journey.."

And what a journey it is... We first meet Hana/Mark on the flight to Washington, DC in a discussion with a travel companion. The sense of something odd about this young man in a suit too big and too old fashioned hits not only the reader... It would be a pity if I told you more about the story. Suffice to add that I grew quickly very fond of Hana in her emotional turmoils, her friends and family as she is hovering betwen the superficial security of being treated as a man and to her inner needs to rediscover her female side.

Sworn Virgin has been beautifully translated from Italian, Elvira Dones' second language, by Clarissa Botsford. This novel is part of an international publication project, &AndOther Stories, bringing new fiction to the English-reading audiences. As a subscriber to the project, I was offered an e-book version of the novel.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
First heard an interview by the author on NPR and ... 22. Juli 2014
Von barbaram - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
First heard an interview by the author on NPR and had to read it! I had never heard of this intriguing Albanian cultural phenomenon. I called my friend who had spent several summers in Albania doing volunteer work. She had heard of the Sworn Virgin practice of Albania, but did not know too much about it. Guess what she's getting for Christmas? ;-). A fascinating read!
1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
I would have like to know more about the emotional and physical process ... 30. Juni 2014
Von Nelda van Rooyen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I would have like to know more about the emotional and physical process of becoming a man. Was there any ritual to follow becoming a man, what would happen with a sworn virgin if she broke her oath? It did not feel to me that Hana's life was so hard and unbearable or that she was really desperate to "escape" from the mountains, Albania and manhood. I did not get the idea that she "needs" to be become a woman again. She sort of drifted along because her cousin thought it a good idea to revert back to being female, therefore her constant anger and rudeness to others just became boring - more like an immature teenager.

A very interesting topic but not a great read.
Four Stars 6. März 2015
Von Lisa Knight - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Dones does a great job giving us a look into Albanian culture. It often reads like a memoir.
Three Stars 6. Februar 2015
Von Louis Romano - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Interesting story line. Not well written however. Perhaps the translation is an issue.
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