Read advance reader review of The Empire of Dirt by Francesca Manfredi

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

The Empire of Dirt

A Novel

by Francesca Manfredi

The Empire of Dirt by Francesca Manfredi X
The Empire of Dirt by Francesca Manfredi
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Publishes
    Jul 12, 2022
    208 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

    Paperback Original.
    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Reviews


Page 1 of 3
There are currently 17 member reviews
for The Empire of Dirt
Order Reviews by:
  • Ellie B. (Mount Airy, MD)
    Three generation female dynamics
    I give this novel five stars. In an excellent translation from Italian, the author delves into the angst of a teen mother, her response to the confines of a forced marriage, and her effort to define her relationship with her own mother.

    Searching for her own identity as she matures, we share the young daughter's yearning for a relationship with her father, and her coming-of-age need to declare her independence. It is an efficiently detailed, enjoyable window into the lives of three generations of women. It's an easy read, and at the same time, a thought provoking novel.
  • Mary L. (Greeley, CO)
    Captivating novel
    This novel, beautifully translated, immediately pulls a reader in to the lives of three female generations of a family and both the mysterious and human forces which threaten them one summer. Seen through the lens of the 12-year-old, and occasionally the woman she becomes later, one is drawn into this "empire of dirt" and the Biblical (see Exodus) plagues they experience. Most readers will want to carve out time to read this novel in one sitting as I did.
  • Molly O. (Centennial, CO)
    Coming of age story
    Frankly, I'm not sure what to think of this book. I even reread the Book of Exodus to see how the plagues in the Bible were relevant to those in the novel. As the plagues freed the Israelite slaves so did the plagues free Valentina from the superstitions of her ultra-religious grandmother and the guilt of her ultra-feminist mother. Or so I guess. This pubescent girl's coming-of-age story is written with vivid honesty, portraying her summer of female awakening; even as a septuagenarian, I could reminisce about her feelings. Author Francesca Manfredi's prose is beautifully translated in this jewel of a book.
  • Tricia
    A striking coming of age story
    In the beautifully written (and translated) “The Empire of Dirt”, now-adult Valentina looks back on a pivotal summer of 1996, when she was twelve and growing up in a small town in Italy. Valentina is the fifth generation to live in the house on the family farm, with her mother and grandmother who both also grew up in this house. Events both totally natural and supernatural occur during this summer. As Valentina states near the end of the book: “the way you were raised defines who you are…the place where you were born is something you carry inside you”. Author Francesca Manfredi weaves a tale of family, women and coming of age, and how this Empire of Dirt (as her mother calls it) shaped all three.

    Valentina’s early maturity and budding sexuality happen at the same time as sometimes biblical evens (for example, bleeding walls, plagues of frogs and locusts), leading her to believe that she is the cause of these unusual problems. Her deeply religious and superstitious grandmother, on the other hand, seems to believe that there is a curse on the family and insists on continuous prayer. Valentina’s mother, who became pregnant accidently as a teenager herself, feels the scorn of her own mother, and is unequipped to deal with her own daughter. However, there is no question of the love between this close family.

    I wish this book were longer, and included more of what eventually happened to Valentina and her mother after this summer. Manfredi does a wonderful job of fully fleshing out each of the main characters in a short novel, and I would love to read more about them. I found myself not only enjoying the story as I was reading, but also thinking about the book and characters well after I finished.
  • Gwen C. (Clearfield, PA)
    The Empire of Dirt
    Although the title is less than intriguing, this novel certainly is. I was immediately drawn into Francesca Manfredi's story of a twelve year old girl's maturation balanced against uneasy family dynamics, a strange curse hovering over her home, "the blind house," and the problems associated with best friend/boyfriend at that young age. This book swerved back and forth from religious to sensual to ghastly incidents with aplomb. The final words of a "microscopic vengeance…a silent inheritance somewhere in the genes, unfurling in its own time," left me pondering much more than this story.
  • Jane B. (Chicago, IL)
    A Trinity In A Castle of Dirt
    Three woman: representing past, present and future encased in a farmhouse. The village thinks they're witches. They each have distinctive personalities. Grandma is religious, tied to the old ways, hard on her daughter but kind to her granddaughter. Mother as Valentina describes has a carefully honed skill to get her way without revealing all the "rehearsal that lay behind it". Valentina is a girl becoming a woman between the other two women. There were not ten plagues sent to convince the house to let them go but water turning to blood, frogs, locusts, livestock pestilence and darkness play a part before the house succumbs to the wishes of the women.
  • Sara Parkin
    The Empire of Dirt
    The plot was weak i think in an attempt to focus on the main character who was only mildly interesting. I would not buy this book as I had to plow through it. The writing was good or I would have stopped reading it.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

More Information

Readalikes

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.25 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    by Clare Pooley
    For the many years that I've been reading, one realization has always come to mind for me after ...
  • Book Jacket: We Had to Remove This Post
    We Had to Remove This Post
    by Hanna Bervoets
    It's not about money. Kayleigh, the protagonist and narrator of We Had to Remove This Post, a newly ...
  • Book Jacket: River of the Gods
    River of the Gods
    by Candice Millard
    The Nile River has provided vital resources for millennia, serving as a source of water, food and ...
  • Book Jacket: Horse
    Horse
    by Geraldine Brooks
    Geraldine Brooks creates a powerful backstory for 19th-century thoroughbred racehorse Lexington, ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Hamnet
by Maggie O'Farrell
"Of all the stories...about Shakespeare’s life, [Hamnet] is so gorgeously written that it transports you."
The Boston Globe

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Lies I Tell
    by Julie Clark

    The new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight!

  • Book Jacket

    Jackie & Me
    by Louis Bayard

    Master storyteller Louis Bayard delivers a surprising portrait of a young Jackie Kennedy as we've never seen her before.

Win This Book!
Win Where the Crawdads Sing

Win a signed copy of Where the Crawdads Sing

In celebration of the movie release on July 15, we have three signed copies to give away.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T O Thing W H T F I F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.