Mahlet, a young Ethiopian girl with a gift for storytelling, has a special bond with Yacob, the oldest in her household. When Yacob tells her stories of how he and the other warriors fought in the resistance against the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, Mahlet vows to become the keeper and teller of her family’s stories. From the time of Menelik to the present, Mahlet's long voyage through time and space links thousands of stories between Africa and Europe. Intensely personal, this powerful and beautifully narrated novel tells the story of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia as well as of others around the globe who have suffered under colonialism or have been forcibly exiled from their homelands.
List of Amharic Words and Expressions
The Flower of the Month
The Saturday Market!
The First Day of Work
At Legesse’s Shop
The First Celebration of Timket in the Capital
The Chaos before the Calm
Return to Debre Zeit
The Story of the Stupid Lion and the Monkey
The Story of Abbaba Igira Salo
Farisa Alula, the Great
The Turtle Lady’s Story
The Story of Woizero Bekelech and Signor Antonio
Gabriella Ghermandi is one of the authors most invested in exploring the postcolonial dimension of contemporary Italian multiculturalism, and she is to my knowledge the only one who has taken on Italy's occupation of Ethiopia as the subject of fiction.
Allison Van Deventer
Gabriella Ghermandi is part of an increasingly larger group of so-called Italian 'migrant writers' coming from Africa, Asia, and Latin America who, since the early 1990s, have contributed to Italian culture and language . . . though their input has not been without contention within Italian academia and its canons.
[A] heart-wrenchingly beautiful novel.
Perspectives on History
Ghermandi weaves personal memory into collective history. . . . Queen of Flowers and Pearls offers a guiding perspective to help us form questions and seek answers from the present as well as the past. Perhaps most hopefully, it makes us consider the current repression in light of the past victories of the Ethiopian citizenry.
Queen of Flowers and Pearls is a wonderful, absorbing new novel that is part of IU Press' Global African Voices. . . [R]eaders can be assured that Mahlet will finally discover herself and her place in the world in the course of some gratifyingly suspenseful chapters.
Ghermandi's patient, rhapsodic compilation reflects Mahlet's own struggle with her identity as an Ethiopian and, when she relocates to Italy for her education, as a foreigner . . . This singular coming-of-age story defined by political upheaval and ancestral secrets introduces a sensitive, perceptive storyteller on the brink of womanhood.