“It was raining the night my father changed the course of my life[1]

And it was raining the night my mother handed me this book one autumn evening eight years ago. This book was recommended to her in turn by a friend, to whom her mother had given it as a gift, who had read a good review: the writer Benedetta Cibrario [2] was awarded the Campiello Prize in 2008 – and so on …

From woman to woman, this novel has come to me. I think it is a coincidence that no possessor of the Y chromosome has been mentioned, since it is a novel with no pretense of ending up in the “pink” category. A category, among other things, that I don’t particularly appreciate.

And then why pink ? Couldn’t they have been orange novels? Blue or emerald?

Bah.

I take some Rossovermiglio  from the cellar to honor the name of the book, and sit in an armchair. Outside the rain keeps me company, a slow and elegant rain, like my reading, I immediately realize in fact that the writing is not adventurous, the times of the story, articulated and divided in a non-linear way, chase the temporal loss in the mind of the protagonist , now very old.

“Youth does not know what a luxury, what a gift, it is a real night of sleep”[2]

Each page makes you experience the atmosphere of a distant world, when life flowed with other rhythms and other values, it makes you reflect on the drama of the absence of participation between people who at first sight are very close. The colors, the aromas, the musicality of the lexical choice, inebriates you as much as the wine which is the real protagonist.

Rossovermiglio covers twenty years of Italian history and takes us by the hand to the votes of 1946, when for the first time women also went to say their propensity between the Monarchy and the Republic. As you get older with her, you feel all the difficulties of creating your own space in that frightened, bombarded, confused world, but you also find the daring to face all the customs, the prescriptions dictated by an elegant reality that does not take into account the feelings.

And perhaps for this reason it is read more by women than by men. Because we feel more involved, more empathetic with Minù, the aristocratic but unfortunate protagonist.

SV: How did this story come about?

66_rossovermiglio

BC: It comes from the desire to tell a restless woman, portrayed against the backdrop of a restless era. Before starting the writing of Rossovermiglio, I knew I wanted to give a voice to a woman who was strong but full of contradictions, only half rebellious, a woman who was at the same time melancholy and tenacious, passionate and cold, shy and daring. But I knew little about this character. Until one day, in a museum, I saw the portrait of a young woman in evening dress, beautiful, sumptuously dressed, young, but with a look of unspeakable sadness, a look capable of piercing the canvas and reaching straight to the heart of who looked at it, a hundred years later, in a crowded room of a museum. Here, I thought, I will tell, or rather I will imagine, who is this woman, what she has done, where does she come from…[3]

 The descriptions of the places are, strangely, what struck me the most. The so-called “color” immensely fills the story without distracting. It is a story to keep next to an armchair or bed on rainy days when we don’t feel like running, but we want to take a break from the world, with a good glass of wine in one hand and a good story in the other!


[1] From the novel.
[2] From the novel.
[3] Interview by Sara Visentin with the author Benedetta Cibrario.