Evelina e le fate

by Simona Baldelli

Evelina and the Fairies

Finalist, Premio Calvino 2012

On the hills crossed by the Gothic Line that runs behind Pesaro, waiting for the Allies to arrive, the last year of WWII is viewed through the magical and special eyes of little Evelina. The girl sees two fairies, the Black fairy who is very dark, and the Scepa fairy who is very colorful and who always laughs. When Evelina and her brothers find the body of a German who was killed by the partisans, the Black fairy chases them away minutes before the German soldiers arrive. And while the war upsets the entire family – both her mother and father are sick, her brothers are called to arms, not to mention the deep secret of a Jewish girl hidden under a passageway in the barn – two worlds combine and reality and magic overlap.

Evelina was looking for peace and quiet.
It is why she awoke before everyone else. Before her father who went to the fields early, before her mother and grandmother who took care of the housework, before her older brothers who went to school and before her younger brothers who instead slept in.
Some mornings she was up even before the rooster’s crow.
She liked to stand at her bedroom window and look out over Candelara.
That morning she could see only the naked branches of the walnut tree poking through a blanket of white. It had already snowed some days ago but that night it must have snowed so much that Jesus himself could not have possibly sent down anymore.
The houses nearer to the town had disappeared into a white expanse.
Suddenly, about half-way down the road, it seemed to her that something was moving in the snow.
Evelina rubbed her eyes but it did not help much, the white mass continued to swell. She went to the basin, broke the layer of ice that covered the water and plunged her face in. The frozen cold penetrated her skin and took her breath away.
When she brought her face up her ears were ringing yet she was certain that she heard shouts coming from outside, they were saying Evelina, Evelina.

Simona Baldelli was born in Pesaro and lives in Rome. This is her first novel, for which she was named a Finalist for the Premio Calvino 2012.

Notes from the author:
My story is set in the hinterland of Pesaro, in an area that is still Romagna even as it starts to become the Marche region, and where every hill has its own dialect. In my novel I have tried to maintain the sounds of this lively mix by building a language that includes words and inflections that go from the port of Pesaro, through the suburbs and the countryside, ending in the hills between Candelara and Novilara, not to mention a few forays into Fano.
To promote general understanding of the sentences, I chose a free use of spelling, of apostrophes and of dropped letters. More than fidelity to the language, I wanted to evoke the feeling and the emotions of the words spoken by the characters. In the end it is a small paradox: the facts and the characters narrated (fairies included) are for the most part real, but the language is not.

Pages: 224
Size: 14 x 21.5 cm
Binding: softcover with flaps
Series: Italiana  (Italiana series: Great Books, Great Authors)
Publication Date: March 2013
Imprint: Giunti Editore

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Main content page count: 224 Pages