The Disowned

Original title: La rinnegata

Author: Usala, Valeria

Publication Date:

April 2021



Original language and publisher

Italian | Garzanti

Territories Handled

Netherlands, Scandinavia, World English

Territories Sold

World English (Text Publishing)


Literary Fiction

The Disowned

Original title: La rinnegata

Author: Usala, Valeria


A story of brave women set in archaic Sicily. — Cosmopolitan

Congratulations to this young author for giving voice with courage and narrative freshness to a family affair that remained silent for a long time. — Corriere de Novara

The debut novel of Valeria Usala, thanks to the word of mouth climbed a few days after publication climbed the charts. — Corriere della Sera

The Disowned hits straight to the heart. Valeria Usala returns history and memory to a female character that you will never forget. — Nadia Terranova

A novel that fights against ancestral rules. But it does it with a silent, obstinate force, which coincides with the indomitable character of the protagonist. You will like it. — Francisco Piccolo

In a world where if you don’t have a man you are nothing. The Disowned, says how much two rebels can be everything, but paying for each choice. — La Stampa

A dense and fascinating tale, the revealed mystery of a story that really happened, which would have a lot to teach if we accepted to learn. — Io Donna

Women’s freedom is scary. A young writer takes her pen, digs into family memories, adds fantasy and writes a powerful novel. In Valeria Usala’s book, one gets lost in an ancient and rough Sardinia, dressed in orbace and black veils , flasks of wine, myrtle and rumors. There is a community that defends the established order, denies a rebel for its too much independence. — Io Donna

LA RINNEGATA tells the story of women, especially mothers, who are disowned and betrayed for no good reason, for pregnancies, for commercial success, for hard work and independence, for their beauty. That women suffer, and die, from violence by men (as well as the hypocrisy of the male representative of the church) is an age-old story this author wants to change! Valeria Usala’s ambition is to be commended—she takes us right into the heart of this visceral, superstitious world of violence, and of the joys and sorrows of a tight-knit community. I fell in love with the three generations of women, Maria, Teresa, and then finally Maddalena at the end—with the glimmer of hope for a better future.  — Penny Hueston, acquiring editor Text

We are the inactivity of a cut flower; the energy in its roots, transplanted in foreign lands. We are the violence of a blazing fire; the quiet in its ashes, gathered in scattered heaps.

Without a man next to her, a woman is nothing.

Teresa has always heard the echo of these words, like the wind during a storm, but she never believed it. Teresa — who is calm and fire, rage and tenderness — has fought against this conviction since she was born. Being an orphan, she has never had someone to protect her from her intelligence, as well as her beauty.

An entire village disowns her, scared by her independence, her words, and her gestures. Because, deep down, all of them make her different from the others. Not even starting a family with the man she loves was enough to silence the slanderers; no one believes that her fortune – an emporium and a tavern she built and manages by herself – is the result of effort and perseverance. But voices have always remained just voices, even if the one to answer back is the witch-like Maria, who wanders aimlessly through the streets.

Then everything changes, and Teresa is forced to defend all she has conquered, to prove that not denying herself means to be free. She wants to give that wind – full of cruel words – a new breath; but prejudice is tenacious, like a root to the ground.

A novel where Sardinia is the main character, with its nature, its legends, and its contradictions. A confession that turns into a testament, a mystery revealed after years of silence. A story of courage and surrender. A story of love and power. A story of rebirth and hope.

Marketing Information

  • Over 20,000 copies sold.
  • First print run: 32,500 copies
  • English sample available