Are there many books about Sardinia?
Yes! If you love Sardinia, or if you’ve always been curious about the island, what better way to discover it from afar than by reading a good book.
Sardinia is an island full of history, art, and culture. It’s definitely no surprise then that it has been the topic for a huge range of books either about, or set on the island.
Now, I’ve always been a reader, ever since I can remember. I thank my parents for igniting the interest, and for making sure I always had a new book to read from our local library back home.
In more recent years, I have to admit though, I haven’t read as much as I’d like. If you’ve read my ‘About me’ section you’ll discover that a few years ago I became a bit of a ‘couch potato’.
This all changed when myself and my wife eventually upped sticks from Ireland, and settled down in Sardinia.
Ever since moving here, I’ve basically rediscovered myself.
I’ve taken up reading again and have regained my interest in writing. I have also lost a good few kilos – mainly thanks to the hiking and trekking around the island! And last but not least, I have completely changed the way I view life…
No more fast-paced rat race and unhealthy takeaway food for me. Yes, to home cooked Italian family lunches that last hours. Yes, to long countryside walks. And yes to relaxing on the beach with a decent book.
It’s for this reason that this week I’ve decided to do something different and list a few books about Sardinia that you may have heard of, and some that you probably haven’t.
Hopefully, it should go in some way to scratching that itch you might have for Sardinia if you can’t travel here right now!
First off though, I’ll be completely honest; if you do make a purchase using these links I will earn a small commission. That commission will either help me to keep Viva La Dolce Vita up and running, or pay for an Aperol Spritz for my wife Claudia!
Now that’s out of the way, in no particular order, here we go… my list of books about Sardinia.
5 Books to Scratch your Sardinian ‘Itch’
By Michela Murgia
Written by Michela Murgia, hailing from Cabras in the province of Oristano, Accabadora is classed as fiction – but, it’s believed that the premise is actually based on fact.
Sa Femmina Accabadora was apparently a woman who used to perform euthanasia to people with terminal illnesses, and those who couldn’t afford medical help. The woman would be invited by the dying person, or their family, and would provide a ‘good quick death’ using a pillow, or a wooden mallet made from Olive tree wood.
“Accabadora” comes from the Sardinian and Spanish verb “acabar”, which means to finish, or to end.
Per the book’s synopsis:
“Formerly beautiful and at one time betrothed to a fallen soldier, Bonaria Urrai has a long held covenant with the dead. Midwife to the dying, easing their suffering and sometimes ending it, she is revered and feared in equal measure as the village’s Accabadora. When Bonaria adopts Maria, the unloved fourth child of a widow, she tries to shield the girl from the truth about her role as an angel of mercy.
Moved by the pleas of a young man crippled in an accident, she breaks her golden rule of familial consent, and in the recriminations that follow, Maria rejects her and flees Sardinia for Turin. Adrift in the big city, Maria strives as ever to find love and acceptance, but her efforts are overshadowed by the creeping knowledge of a debt unpaid, of a duty and destiny that must one day be hers.”
Accabadora, published in 2009, has been awarded seven major literary prizes, including Italy’s prestigious Premio Campiello.
Reeds in the Wind
By Grazia Deledda
Genres: Novel, Fiction
This book, originally titled Canne al vento, is by the world famous Sardinian author Grazia Deledda.
Deledda, from the town of Nuoro in central Sardinia, became the first Italian woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926.
The book Reeds in the Wind, published in 1913, is a novel of crime, guilt and retribution, and is considered the most notable work written by Deledda.
Per the book’s synopsis:
“Reeds in the Wind tells the story of the Pintor sisters, Ruth, Ester, Noemi, and Lia, who live in early-twentieth-century Sardinia. The aristocratic Pintor family was once wealthy, but now the three surviving sisters, long bereft of both parents, are barely eking out a living in their dilapidated home.”
Sea and Sardinia
By D.H. Lawrence
Genre: Travel literature
Sea and Sardinia isn’t written by a Sardinian, or even an Italian for that matter. The writer D. H. Lawrence was actually an English writer and poet.
This book is one of the more easygoing books about Sardinia, and describes a brief excursion undertaken in January 1921 by Lawrence and his wife Frieda, from Taormina in Sicily to the interior of Sardinia.
During their travels they visited Cagliari, Mandas, Sorgono, and Nuoro.
Lawrence’s writing gives an interesting snapshot of daily life in Sardinia during this period from the view of a non-native.
It’s also from this book that I gleaned the quote, used on my Introduction to Sardinia page…
“This land resembles no other place. Sardinia is something else. Enchanting spaces and distances to travel, nothing finished, nothing definitive. It is like freedom itself. Sardinia is out of time and history.”D.H. Lawrence
Archaeology and History in Sardinia from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages: Shepherds, Sailors, and Conquerors
By Stephen L. Dyson and Robert J. Rowland Jr.
Genre: Non-fiction, History
Given the title, it’s not too difficult to guess what this book is about… Ok, so it’s not exactly beach reading, but it is packed full of fascinating historical information about the island of Sardinia.
Be warned, this book is not exactly a travel guide for historical sites – it’s a very detailed study about the history of Sardinia.
The authors include photos of little-known historical sites and artefacts on the island, as well as very detailed maps. If you’re a bit of a history nerd like me, you’ll appreciate the book’s great insight into the history of the island – from the Megalithic Nuragic period, all the way up to Spain’s domination of Sardinia during the medieval period.
This is one of the more serious books about Sardinia, but it’s well worth a read!
The Last Concerto
By Sara Alexander
Genres: Romance novel, Coming-of-age story, Historical romance, Domestic Fiction
Now, this book is not exactly my cup of tea, but it is great for lovers of romance novels. It has garnered international praise, and it’s tagged as a must-read for music lovers and lovers of Italy in general.
The British-born writer is of Sardinian descent, and has also written other books about Sardinia.
Per the book’s synopsis:
“Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for the bandits who kidnap wealthy landowners for ransom.
Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for thEleven-year-old Alba Fresu’s brother, and her father, Bruno, are abducted by criminals who mistake Bruno for a rich man. After a grueling journey through the countryside, the two are eventually released―but the experience leaves Alba shaken and unable to readjust to normal life, or to give voice to her inner turmoil.”