Three sisters live in three flats in an aristocratic palazzo in Cagliari’s ancient Castello quarter, where rich and poor are mixed together just as they were in the past. The eldest, Noemi, dreams of lost splendours, while the second, Maddalena, dreams of having a child. The third, known as Countess Ricotta ‘because she’s clumsy — she’s got ricotta hands — and because everything about the real world hurts her weak heart, which is also made of ricotta’, dreams of love. Countess Ricotta is the only one with a child, Carlino, a little livewire and a fine pianist.
Around the family and its persistent illusions there are characters who are more solid but no less fleeting, because after all it is only illusion that does not flee: the old nanny, the shady neighbour, the shepherd Elias.
Milena Agus’ latest novel takes us back into that world all her own, where enchantment and disenchantment are blended without her ever passing judgement or dissolving the mystery.
'Sweet and sad, yet ultimately uplifting. The Countesses of Castello is one of those rare books which will appeal to just about everyone – fans of chick lit and lit fic, magical realism and beach reads will all find something to love in this book.'
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'The slimness of this volume belies the richness of its tale of family loves and loss. The language is lilting and fluid and gently lead the reader through the interwoven threads of the lives of the three sisters...I was enchanted by this gem of a story.'
'Agus packs a lot of content into relatively few pages, weaving together variations on the themes of love, disappointment, parenthood, deception, bereavement and family loyalty as she tells the sisters' stories in an enchantingly double-edged way, at once contemporary and timeless.'
Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald
'A pretty little package, just as good as The House in Via Manno...a charming folktale.'
'With this enchanting tale, Milena Agus has hand-painted three charming Sardinian sisters, each unlucky in love in their own way...It is a thoughtful story beautifully told, full of colour, warmth and love.'