Melania G. Mazzucco
Io sono con te. Storia di Brigitte (I Am With You. The Story of Brigitte)
Einaudi, October 2016, 224 pages

Foreign rights Einaudi: Valeria Zito, valeria.zito@einaudi.it

Io sono con te. Storia di Brigitte has been voted Book of the Year at Fahrenheit 2016 (Radio 3) and has won the Premio Letterario Basilicata for fiction 2017.

Io sono con te is one of those novels – a very precious few – that changes the reader’s insight.”
la Repubblica

“A hard, compassionate, necessary novel.”
il Messaggero

For months, two women meet every week. One has lost everything and begins to tell her story; the other one listens and decides to write that story down. She has chosen it among the countless possible ones, the way you open a door or start down a path. Because only through the eyes of each individual person can you see the world.

For months, two women meet regularly; they learn to know each other, understand each other and trust each other. One of them, Brigitte, is from the Congo; she has lost everything and begins to tell her story. The other one is named Melania; she listens and decides to write that story down. She has chosen it among the countless possible stories, the way you open a door or start down a path. Because only through the eyes of each individual person can you see the world. “I didn’t know where they were taking me. I only knew that I would never return.”

Brigitte arrives at the Termini train station one day at the end of January. She is wearing lightweight clothing; she is cold and hungry and doesn’t really know what country she’s in. She had fled hastily from the Congo and was then unloaded like a burdensome package. The train station in Rome becomes her dormitory; garbage becomes her dinner. And yet she used to be a nurse, the mother of four children and now she doesn’t even know if they are alive. When she is completely at the end of her tether, she is approached by a man. He speaks to her, scribbles an address on a paper napkin for her: the Centro Astalli, where she will find a meal, human warmth and all the help she needs. In fact, it is a new beginning, but it is also the beginning of a new odyssey. Io sono con te is a rare and essential book for many reasons: it is the story of a meeting and recognition, of an ordeal and a rebirth, the description of an Italy which is both inhospitable and welcoming, politically inadequate and full of miraculous situations and people.

Melania Mazzucco has put herself on the line on every page, as a human being and as an author, using a new, flexible style which is precise, personal, and full of restrained and explosive emotion. In Vita she had narrated the epic of Italian emigration; in Io sono con te she flips the perspective: by looking these men and women in the eye, mirroring ourselves in their stories, we cannot help but recognize the desperate energy which we all have in common, when life has swept us away and we are trying to get back on our feet.

Melania G. Mazzucco

Melania G. Mazzucco was born and lives in Rome. She is the author of Il bacio della Medusa (1996), La camera di Baltus (1998), Lei così amata (2000, Premio Napoli), about the writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Vita (2003, Premio Strega), Un giorno perfetto (2005), on which was based the movie with the same title by Ferzan Ozpetek, and two works about the Italian Renaissance painter Tintoretto: the novel La lunga attesa dell’angelo (2008, Premio Bagutta) and the essay Jacomo Tintoretto e i suoi figli (2009, Premio Comisso). In 2011 she received the Premio letterario Viareggio-Tobino as Author of the Year. Then, she wrote Limbo (2012, Premio Elsa Morante, Premio Rhegium Julii, Premio Matteotti, Premio Bottari Lattes Grinzane), Il bassotto e la Regina (2012, Premio Frignano Ragazzi 2013), Sei come sei (2013), Il museo del mondo (2014), in which she narrates 54 works of art, Io sono con te (2016, Rai Radio 3 Fahrenheit‘s Book of the Year), L’architettrice (2019, Premio Alassio, Premio Capalbio). In 2020 she won the Premio alla Carriera John Fante. She created and wrote the docu-film Tintoretto. A Rebel in Venice, a 2019 Sky Arts original production distributed in cinemas all over the world. She wrote for the theatre, the cinema and the radio and is a contributor to la Repubblica. Her books have been translated in 27 languages.

 

 

Io sono con te is one of those novels – a very precious few – that changes the reader’s insight.”
la Repubblica

“A hard, compassionate, necessary novel.”
il Messaggero

“A shocking book, full of wild strength and precision, in which the encounter between two women has something miraculous and absolute.”
Il Foglio

“Mazzucco, at the height of her remarkable talent, writes a powerful portrait, dealing with the biggest emergency in today’s Europe.”
Internazionale

Io sono con te has a perfect narrative mechanism, epic and modern at the same time. It is not a report, neither a lecture: it is life that becomes literature and literature that gives back true life.”
Gazzetta di Mantova

“Touching and dramatic.”
Famiglia Cristiana

Italian and foreign editions

Foreign publishers of Melania G. Mazzucco’s works
Albania: Albas
Bulgaria: Uniscorp, Jelenkor
Canada: HarperCollins, Harper Perennial
China: Horizon
Croatia: Oceanmore
Denmark: Tellerup, Turbine
Finland: Avain
France: Flammarion, J’ai lu, Editions du Club
Germany, Austria and Switzerland: Piper, Knaus, btb, Hoffmann und Campe
Georgia: Sulakauri
Greece: Diigisi, Modern Times
Hungary: Európa Könyvkiadó
Israel: Schocken, Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir
Japan: Michitani
Korea: Random House Corea
The Netherlands and Belgium: Mouria, Atlas-Contact
Norway: Cappelen
Poland: Wab-Foksal
Romania: Polirom
Russia: Ast
Serbia: Mono j Manjana, Sezam Book
Spain and South America: Seix Barral, Planeta, Anagrama
Sweden: Norsteds, Contempo
Turkey: Yapi Kredi Culture and Arts, Doğan Kitap
UK: Pushkin
US and UK: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Picador, Thornedike Press

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