General Fiction

Dalla parte di Alba

(From Alba)

Ponte alle Grazie, February 2023, pp.240

A fictionalised biography of Alba de Céspedes, a great 20th-century woman – writer, poet and feminist – through the places where she lived.

Paris, January 1991. Alba De Céspedes agrees to tell her story to Léna, who is studying the connection between autobiography and literary fiction. The meetings between the two women become occasions to revisit the episodes and circumstances that marked the writer’s life and work: her relationship with a mythical family past, the distance of her parents, a first marriage at a very young age, the birth of her son, being a partisan in the Resistance in the Abruzzo woods and subsequent imprisonment, the success of her novels and her role in literary society, the trips to Cuba and her friendship with Fidel Castro, her mother’s mental illness, and May 1968 in France. The questions Léna asks – as she is ready to immerse herself in Alba’s novels to reemerge with fragments of a past life in her hands – are chiefly a pretext for creating a game of mirrors between fiction and reality. A game that constitutes the book as she tries to piece together the impossible biography of one of the most important figures in 20th-century Italy – one of the most widely read and translated writers – and attempts to understand what it means to write a novel of one’s own life.

Ponte alle Grazie, February 2023, pp.240

  • “Monferrini transforms the story of a life into a magical novel.” 

    Ritanna Armeni, Italian journalist and writer

  • Dalla parte di Alba is a novel that keeps you gripped. It is as seductive as its female protagonist […]. Monferrini couldn’t not be her voice. Writing with both reason and total immersion, she is perceived by readers as the genuine, authentic writer that she is.”

    Roman Petri, La Lettura – Corriere della Sera

Michela Monferrini

Michela Monferrini, was born in Rome, where she now lives. She was shortlisted for the 2008 Campiello Giovani prize and the 2012 Calvino prize. She has had poetry published in magazines and anthologies.

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