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The Almond Picker

by Simonetta Agnello Hornby, Translated by Alastair McEwen

In the village of Roccacolomba, Sicily, in 1963, La Mennulara – ‘the woman who gathers almonds’ – lies dead.  For more than forty years she had been at the heart of the Afallipe family, one of the richest families in Roccacolomba, first as a humble maidservant and then rising to manager of the family estates.  Now, at her death, the gossip among the villagers is reaching fever pitch as each character begins to wonder just how La Mennulara managed to amass such a large fortune.  Was she stealing from her masters, the greedy Afallipe family, or trying to save them?  Will La Mennulara’s death reveal her to be a monster or a saint? The Almond Picker was a bestseller in Italy and has been published in twelve languages.