Ilaria Bernardini, born in 1977 in Milan, graduated in Philosophy with a thesis that is a year-long interview with Alda Merini. She writes screenplays for film and television. She writes for Amica and GQ magazines. She is a speaker and co-authored the Very Victoria program on Mtv and Victor Victoria on La7. Her brainchild were the programs Gymnasts-Parallel Lives and Dancers, broadcast on Mtv. In 2005 she published Non è niente, her first novel, for Baldini & Castoldi; in 2006 the short story collection La fine dell’amore, for ISBN. In 2008 her novel, I Supereroi, was released for Bompiani, while 2011 saw Corpo Libero, published for Feltrinelli and now in pre-production to become a film with Indigo. Also for Feltrinelli, Sunday came out in 2013. In 2015 with Hop she published the graphic novel La fine dell’amore and with Indiana the short story collection L’inizio di tutte le cose. For Mondadori she published Faremo Foresta (2018) and Il ritratto (2020).
Valeria Costas, a globally acclaimed and translated writer, has dedicated her life to her books and to her great love, the well-known entrepreneur Martín Aclà. She lives alone in Paris, while Martín lives in London with his wife and children-the two have been lovers for more than twenty-five years, and no one knows about them.
When Valeria finds out from the radio that Martín has had a stroke, her world collapses. The idea of losing him is devastating. She must find a way to reach him, be with him, save him, or at least say goodbye. So she ventures into a clumsy and reckless plan: she commissions her own portrait from Martín’s wife, the painter Isla Lawndale, and through this lie manages to insinuate herself into their home.
In the large, chaotic mansion in central London where the man they love lies in a coma, Valeria and Isla stand before each other, fascinated and intimidated by each other. Does Isla know who the woman sitting across from her really is? Will Valeria tell her that Martín had just asked her to spend the next few years together? And what has Antonia, Isla and Martín’s teenage daughter, figured out about her father’s double life.
Day after day, during portrait sessions, Valeria and Isla study each other and begin to tell their stories, creating an ever-deepening intimacy, unfolding their fragility and strength. In another version of the story, perhaps, they would have been friends. In this one they might still be in time to help each other.
Lies, memories and secrets chase each other and intertwine in a moving and luminous dance of passion and compassion. The portrait is a hymn to life and a love song, brought forth by two immense and vulnerable characters who, on the threshold of the precipice, collapse and rise again, with pain and with grace, as the love of their lives and all they thought they were is disappearing.
Le nuove Eroidi
Just over two thousand years ago Ovid wrote an extraordinarily modern and original collection of poetic letters: the Heroides, a series of verse epistles in which the heroines of myth addressed their (generally not blameless) husbands and companions, overturning the traditional male point of view on the stories told.
Today eight leading female writers born in the 1970s reinterpret Ovid’s classic with absolute freedom, playing with the original myths in innovative and exciting ways.
Thus Antonella Lattanzi makes us witness the trial in which Phaedra is involved, we meet a new Medea in Maremma told by Teresa Ciabatti, we participate in the drama of Hero and Leander, fleeing their country on a barge in the Mediterranean, in the words of Ilaria Bernardini. And again Veronica Raimo shows us Laodamia engaged in an erotic chat with the ghost of Protesilaus, Caterina Bonvicini introduces us to a Penelope who has embarked by sea and rescues refugees while Ulysses awaits her in Ithaca, Chiara Valerio goes back to the time of the myth and reinvents the drama of Deianira, providing a new explanation to the events that provoked Hercules’ madness. Valeria Parrella, on the other hand, espouses Dido’s point of view in a long and cruel invective against the fearful Aeneas, guilty against the laws of love. Michela Murgia, finally, gives voice to Elena, because “when beauty and war become synonymous, there is no longer a difference between admiring and targeting.”
A book that starts from the topicality of the myth and focuses on the female perspective, with a short collection of intense and universal stories, suspended between modernity and eternity, crafted by eight exceptional female writers.
The enchanting story of two women who overcame fear and pain by cultivating an urban forest together. A universal recipe for when life feels barren. A botanical tale of closeness and caring.
Anna is mourning the end of her love-she and Nico’s dad are breaking up-when she runs into Maria by chance. As they chat, Maria begins to get sick, very sick. Anna calls for help; later it will be discovered that she has had an aneurysm. They will spend a long summer recovering together, but how does one relearn how to live after realizing how close the end is? Around the two women only drought and fear, even the plants on the terrace of Anna’s house are all half-dead. Until they begin to take care of them together, and as the plants grow lushly, the two begin to get to know each other, to care for each other’s loneliness, and, just like the terrace, this story turns into a forest, so joyous and wild that it contains the events of Anna’s entire eccentric family, so extensive that it reaches as far as London, where her new love lives. Ilaria Bernardini has drawn on a private affair – illness, the end of a marriage, a child to protect – to bring to life a powerful poetic universe in which words sprout like branches and leaves.