Silvia Ballestra
La nuova stagione (The New Season)
A novel, Bompiani, October 2019, 276 pages

Benedetto Croce Award 2020
Shortlisted for Premio Strega 2020
Shortlisted for Premio Rapallo 2020

“The mellow and expressive language, the subtle irony and, in the background, an almost restrained comedy, make the story of these two sisters into a little family saga. A spectacular Italian suburb give life to the most diverse human types, confirming once again the narrative solidity of Silvia Ballestra.” Premio Rapallo presenting Silvia Ballestra as a candidate

“A riveting and moving novel.” Paolo Di Paolo, Tuttolibri

Legend has it that a Sibyl – an ancient prophetess after whom were named the Sibillini Mountains in the very heart of Italy –, angry at the fairies who lingered to dance with the shepherds, threw some stones at them and those stones then became the village of Arquata del Tronto – stones that would be destined to roll again, sadly, during the earthquake that in 2016 dramatically damaged that region.
This is where the sisters Nadia and Olga feel at home, in this land that moves, this countryside between the mountains and the sea. Their father spent his life cultivating the fields here, so their family is still treated with respect. But now everything has changed. Love and work took Olga and Nadia far away, their children are citizens of the world. People want strawberries and plums even in January. It’s a new season. And it’s time to leave the land.
The two sisters begin a journey back in time and in memory. It’s also an actual journey that brings incredible meetings with potential buyers, parvenu sharecroppers and emissaries of multinational fruit companies: all male, all ambiguous, all apparently incapable of understanding how badly roots hurt when you need to cut them.
Is everything really so immutable in the succession of generations and harvests? Can we still hope to leave the planet better off than when we came into it?
Silvia Ballestra writes a novel that is current and ancient at the same time, like the places where she was born, to which she dedicates pages of scathing humor, but also full of the nostalgia and the amazement of someone who feels that a new season is coming.

“After what had happened, a new affection bound us to those places. A desire to care, protect and know.”

Read the first chapter in English (PDF)

Silvia Ballestra

Silvia Ballestra was born in Porto San Giorgio (Ascoli Piceno). She was one of Pier Vittorio Tondelli’s “under 25s” in the landmark series of the late 1980s. She is the author of Compleanno dell’iguana (1991; 1995), La seconda Dora (2006), Piove sul nostro amore (2008), I giorni della Rotonda (2009, Città di Fabriano Award), Le colline di fronte (2011), a journey around the life of Tullio Pericoli, Amiche mie (2014), the children book Christine e la città delle dame (2015), Vicini alla terra (2017), La nuova stagione (2019, Benedetto Croce Award 2020). Her most recent book is La Sibilla. Vita di Joyce Lussu (2022, Premio Alghero Donna).



“A riveting and moving novel.” Paolo Di Paolo, Tuttolibri

Foreign rights sold in:
Spain (Catalan): Tigre de Paper Edicions
Mozambique (Portuguese): Editora Trinta Zero Nove

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