Bella Ciao by Raffaella Romagnolo

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The following sample essay is a description of the action of the novel and its idea. To read the introduction, body, and conclusion of the essay, scroll down.

In the mountainous hinterland northwest of Genoa, where the rivers Stura and Orba flow together and the border between Liguria and Piedmont runs, has Raffaella Romagnolo the fictional village of Borgo di Dentro settled, the starting point of the plot of her latest novel. In this remote, impoverished area live around 1900 frugal, hard-working people who make every effort to earn their daily bread.

The social order is simple and consolidated. Next to the church and the Carabinieri especially the wealthy family Salvi is in charge. Your silk mill ( “Filanda Salvi”) has given the women of the village working for starvation wages and the factory owner wealth and power saved. An important pillar in the structure is the lawyer, a “male with lenkerförmigem giant mustache, goatee and Kaiser sideburns,” mockingly “Avucatein” (dialect for “avvocatino”) called.

The action of the novel begins at the end of 1900 . As the protagonist has Giulia Masca already twenty difficult years in her family behind. Her two siblings had died even as infants. Her mother Assunta have hardened privation and suffering, rough and made vulgar. Her father Erminio was constantly drunk and Assunta sank not in mourning, than death the “bastard” brought. Doctrines of otherworldly or earthly paradises promised by rich pulpit preachers or Revolutionssalbaderern with red carnation in his buttonhole, they slammed as “old wives tales” and “chatter for drunkards like her husband” from.

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met with skepticism Assunta and the merger to strike the factory workers for better working conditions and higher wages. Such “trifles” had never happened before in Borgo di Dentro. What could it get around except even more hungry when the upcoming cold winter freezes the floors and you can herausklauben no potatoes and no carrot more?

Since Giulia is six years old, she toils every day with her mother in the silk mill. There is also working Anita Leone, a Beautiful ‘princess’, born the same day as she did. But her best friend is her fate (Italian: “destino”, the original title of the novel) completely transform. Because Giulia is pregnant and is the father of her child, Pietro Ferro, married soon. But then she has to watch as Anita cheating with Pietro. Deeply disappointed the Hintergangene leaves the village under cover of darkness and fled with nothing but the few that carries on the skin, as would happen to her in America across the ocean to New York.

What Giulia pulls back to her village? Deep inside like they have thought about revenge, but it is a completely different type than Claire Zachanassian in Dürrenmatt’s “The Visit of the Old Lady”. In fact, they would stroll no grand entrance, but unrecognized through the streets, go to the places of their past to rest, bring old photos to life, perceive changes. If Anita, Pietro and others are still alive, they would like to hear answers to why you have betrayed them. And they want ability to sense what her life would have been if it had performed a marriage with Peter and their child.

The terrible events of the past years until the liberation by the Allies, the Giulia sporadically in the newspapers had pursued, in the village have left their mark. Many of the people knew the Giulia are, for their beliefs – on which political side they have always been – drawn into the war, who fought as soldiers or guerrillas and, health or life. Those left behind have their heavy yoke often worn with superhuman efforts and are now old and weak.

Giulias stay in their home, the actual narrative situation is this impressive novel. But the author does not make it so easy to us that it reflects the life of its protagonist as orderly as the paragraphs you have just read. Rather, it follows Giulias flow of thoughts during their visit, as it is influenced by external events and impressions, emotions and memories and promoted. So the narrative jumps sometimes in mid-sentence between the years (circa 1900 to 1946), places (the small Borgo di Dentro – the metropolis of New York) and the subjects. Although short portraits facilitate the figures and pedigrees, which precede the chapters that focus, yet the abundance of names, impressions and allusions to unknown past

overwhelms the reader from the first pages until he is slowly home. Raffaella Romagnolo connects the opposite fate of two women with the differentiated illustrated history on both continents. One is hard-working and determined their way, who knows only one direction: upwards. In the stranger she finds a loving partner who drew them up against the will of opposing mother with “Bastard” and marries. The other is granted only a brief period of happiness. Their love is overshadowed by the unresolved fate Giulias, all take for dead and missing. The two world wars take her as many others in the village, all that is dear to her in life.

Taking the private narrative rails and tie the reader emotionally love, pain, struggle for survival, illness, grief and death in life of the main and secondary characters. appreciate we learn with what detail detail, linguistic precision and wonderful style Raffaella Romagnolo formulated. Her story vividly and movingly the lives of their characters, and close it makes the atmosphere of the scenes and episodes at the respective times. Convincing she contrasts the two parallel worlds: America’s boom after the Great Depression and the decline in Italy’s province, where poverty, oppression, exploitation and hopelessness of people paralyze. Giulias sometimes mocking tone and restrained cynicism give the whole a fine flavor

With amazement Giulia perceives how the buildings has fallen in the village. “Poor, dilapidated … chipped points … scratch marks of dogs … gnawing traces of woodworm and mice “. This reflects the wounds and cracks in the souls of the survivors who had to look into the abyss for them. Her former friend and rival recognizes Giulia only at the unchanged voice. Her appearance robbed her breath: “Anita’s face looks at her like curdled pain,” the characters in it like “carved into wood nails,” “wrists narrow as withered branches”

“. Destino “is Raffaella Romagnolo, who was born in 1971 in the area of ​​Borgo di Dentro and writes novels since 2007, a great literary union succeeded. The excellent translation by Maja Plow will make the high school teacher from Piedmont known to us. That the esteemed Diogenes Verlag beautiful, serious title, however, has sacrificed in favor of “Bella Ciao”, I find an inappropriate content narrowing and literary loss. was the traditional, aggressive and melancholic song of this title since its inception over a century ago an expression of protest and pain in the Second World War it was the Italian partisans glorifying fight song and then was part of the standard repertoire politically most left of committed artists such as Lucilla Galeazzi. 2018 was a pop version of the song used in a popular Spanish TV series, stormed the charts internationally and has been widely been covered, inter alia, the German rapper trio Juri, Sun Diego and Scenzah. The ever-present for a short time “summer hit” made the title world-famous – as a meaningless cliché and sound sample. In “Destino” the old partisan song is indeed even mention, but does not matter – not enough to be suitable as a title. However, the now popular titles is good for sure for better marketing of this demanding, complex and intense novel.

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Bella Ciao by Raffaella Romagnolo. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved from

Bella Ciao by Raffaella Romagnolo
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