“The water in the lake is never sweet” by Giulia Caminetto: Angry Teen

The water in the lake is never sweet

Julia Caminito

Translated from Italian by Laura Perignon

Gallmeister, 352 pages, €23.40

Here is another, if necessary, evidence of the vitality of Italian feminist literature. Giulia Caminito, born in 1988, adds her name to the list of talented novelists, with gritty writing, who recount the harshness and instability of life in urban slums, such as Silvia Avalon or Elena Ferrante. Their heroines are young girls raised on the fringes of society by omnipresent, depressed, cranky or weary mothers, lonely or absent fathers, lover brothers helpless to relieve their ills, friends who love and betray them. …

Don’t look like his mother

Gaia, the heroine of Julia Caminito’s second novel (1) of this caliber. Her misfortune hangs in a cruel heart, and she leads her life like a fight. His priority: Not to look like Antonia Colombo, his mother. “All life begins with a woman, and I, too, a red-haired woman,” Obsessed with what is right, stubborn and narrow-minded, a housekeeper by profession. “She looks like Anna Magnani in the movies, she screams and never gives up, everyone shuts up.» but without it “we are nothing” She admits. “We” include his father, who was confined to a wheelchair after having a work accident, and his brother Mariano, the anarchist, Maicol and twins Roberto, immersed in their bubble.

The family leaves Rome for HLM in Anguillara Sabazia, in the far suburbs, a city built around a dark lake. This presence on the sidelines – without a TV, without a scooter, without a mobile phone – puts Gaïa on edge. So she hits life and works hard in college, and then high school. “We study or no one”, His mother always hit him. She throws herself at books borrowed from the library, in her own way, compulsive and stubborn, and ends up getting out of a lot thanks to her excellent grades, but always in the face of the ruthless ridicule of other students for these oversized sweaters, freckle spots and ears “Elephant and Monkey” You carry such an insult to beauty.

Find a suitable place

We feel all the tenderness of Julia Caminito for this grumpy girl, who gave her the floor for this story in the first person. Its writing, jagged and razor-sharp, was on the image of Gaïa, a belly-bearing Telluric goddess Nothing but stones. She softens sometimes, allowing her weaknesses to flourish, which she reveals with unique clarity. “I must be the new me, the old child, from attacks, reckless acts, violence, spectacles, I must archive … From today I must cleanse myself, and put on my most beautiful smile.”

On the banks of the lake with its unfragrant waters, whose moving shadows surround and attract, this young Italian woman, rebellious against the injustice of her condition, struggles not to drown.And She clings to her studies – she will choose political philosophy – like a blackjack. But can one still hope, in Italy today, to find a worthy place when one comes from a family that has known nothing but poverty and social insecurity? This is the question asked by the brilliant Julia Caminito…

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