Tina, Mafia Soldier
A classic of Italian feminist mafia literature about a gender-bending mafiosa and the writer who becomes obsessed with telling her story
Sicily, 1980s: When she was just eight years old, Tina watched as her father, a member of Cosa Nostra, was murdered in cold blood. Now a teenager, she terrorizes her hometown of Gela, having made it her mission to join the mafia, an organization traditionally forbidden to women as made members. Nicknamed ’a masculidda, or “the tomboy,” Tina has taken charge of her own gang, and is notorious for her cruelty and reckless disregard for societal expectations.
When a news article is published about Tina’s latest crimes, a teacher living in Rome feels compelled to write a novel about her—even though it means returning to her native Sicily to gather material. She and Tina circle around each other in a dangerous dance of obsession and violence until their first, and last, explosive meeting.
This groundbreaking exploration of gender identity and clear-eyed presentation of an unseen side of the mafia is a landmark literary achievement by one of Italy’s feminist icons.
Story Locale: Gela, Sicily, Italy
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Maria Rosa Cutrufelli
March 07, 2023