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Ramona Drottoveo, an albino with unusual looks, is a chambermaid at an Italian country estate. Distinguished by an intoxicating scent, she is despised by all women and worshipped by all men, whose inexhaustible lust she eagerly satisfies. But Ramona's life changes for ever when she marries a beekeeper who dies after discovering his bride with a lover on their wedding day. The superstitious villagers go on to blame Ramona and her lover when his body mysteriously disappears and the crops fail, and they exile the couple from the estate to the neighboring city of Naples. There we follow Ramona through her tragi-comic misadventures where her life is transformed once again by the birth of an unwanted daughter, Blandina. Blandina 'steals' Ramona's scent, depriving her mother of her only asset. No longer able to seduce men into blind submission, Ramona returns humbly to the estate to an unexpected welcome - and revenge.
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Lily Prior lives in London. A great admirer of Italian cuisine and culture, she has travelled extensively in Italy. She is the author of La Cucina, Nectar and Ardour.From Publishers Weekly:
To visualize Prior's rambunctious novel, imagine a grand, erotic opera buffa, bursting with outsized passion and populated by 99 fancifully named and generally grotesque characters, including a disappearing corpse and his vengeful ghost, a love-starved humpback and the protagonist, a femme fatale in every sense of the word. The temptress is fat, albino Ramona Drottoveo, whose repulsive appearance (her skin is a violent shade of pink, as are her piggy eyes) is no deterrent to the tumescent reaction of any man who gets close enough to inhale the maddening sexual aroma she exudes. Vain, selfish and monumentally stupid, Ramona takes great delight in the hordes of aroused men she attracts. The elderly Signor of la Casa, where she works as a chambermaid, regularly has his way with her, but Ramona decides to marry the lowly beekeeper on the estate so she can quit her job and loaf. The day after her wedding, however, she is surprised with the beekeeper's new assistant, Rinaldo Buffi, a veritable Adonis, inspiring her cuckolded husband to commit suicide. Cast out from la Casa, Ramona and Rinaldo go to Naples, where further adventures await the seductive antiheroine. Prior (La Cucina) propels this larky but dark tale with sensuous descriptions of opulent banquets, hurly-burly street scenes, horrendous natural disasters and providential encounters. Yet the narrative seems less constructed than jerry-built; whenever the plot drives into a corner, magical intervention occurs. Despite its farcical tone, this Technicolor fairy tale is based on the lowest and most venal aspects of human nature, and one may tire of Ramona long before she gets her well-deserved comeuppance.
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Book Description Black Swan, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0552770884