Quick Review: The Hatchet, by Mihail Sadoveanu


Publication date: 1930 (Originally)

Published by: East European Monographs (Current Copy) 

Pages: 152


Source: Bought Paper Copy


The main character of the novel is the wife of a shepherd living in the Moldovian village of Măgura Tarcăului, Vitoria Lipan, which has a premonition that her husband, Nechifor, on a trip to buy a new flock in the town of Dorna, has died. Her premonitions are dismissed by the village’s priest and by the prefect of the county, but for Vitoria, the archaic symbols and superstitions of the peasant world are more trustworthy than the books of the priests or the science of the government’s officials. She calls home her son Gheorghiţă, who was also on business in Jijia village where he waited for news from his father to pay some debts, and together they embark on a mythical journey at the end of which they find Nechifor’s dead body and take their revenge on the bandits who killed him. The determined and energetic Vitoria Lipan is a unique female character in the Romanian traditionalist novel. The Hatchet is considered Sadoveanu’s greatest work and a creative adaptation of many themes from a famous Romanian piece of folklore, the ballad Mioriţa.

Quick Review:


One of the best novellas about rural life and, especially, about family; 

Great characters;

Strong female protagonist;


Gets boring at times;

Rating: 5-Star Rating System

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