Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Femminicidio in Crime Fiction: The Curious Case of Maraini’s Voci

Barbara Pezzotti


Scholarship on Dacia Maraini’s Voci (1994) has gone to great lengths to distinguish the novel from the crime genre. This article offers a reading of Voci as crime fiction with the aim of showing how this ignored or discounted connection is actually important to understanding her novel in new and innovative ways. In particular I will highlight how the investigative act and the representation of three key figures in crime fiction—the (female) detectives, the (equally female) victim and the (male) villain—are pivotal in identifying patriarchy as the real culprit of a phenomenon that, over twenty years after the publication of Maraini’s book, still occupies the front pages of Italian newspapers. First, after an excursus on the significance of the genre, this article positions Maraini’s novel in the context of the Italian crime fiction tradition of impegno and the American feminist crime fiction tradition. It will then show how the structure of crime fiction has helped Maraini to powerfully address this topical issue. It will then make a provocative diversion to the crime novels of a highly controversial crime writer, Giorgio Scerbanenco, whose books have been accused of perpetuating misogyny. By arguing that the genre as a whole can be a privileged site for raising awareness on gender violence and encouraging change, this articles conclude that Voci is a powerful exposé of femminicidio because it belongs to the genre of crime fiction and not in spite of it.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Spunti e Ricerche. Rivista d'italianistica.
ISSN (Print): 0816-5432.
ISSN (Electronic): 2200-8942.