The novel is set in Aar, a poor and remote Sardinian village. The story takes place in less than three days and concerns the struggle between the mother and her only son, Paul, the local priest. The mother, Maria Maddalena, grew up in this small parish and she sees this as the rest of their lives: to be together and that he becomes the best priest Aar ever had. One night she discovers that Paul is involved with a woman, Agnes, and suddenly realizes that everything she wished for is now in peril.
«The love of the priest for the woman is sheer instinctive passion, pure and undefiled by sentiment. As such it is worthy of respect, for in other books on this theme the instinct is swamped and extinguished in sentiment. […] All the priest’s education and Christianity are really mere snuff of the candle.»
from the Introduction by D.H. Lawrence
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