Beatrice Masini
Più grande la paura (Greater the Fear)
A short story collection, Marsilio, January 2019, 168 pages

“Masini has an exact and profound prose”. La Repubblica

“The complexity of childhood”. La Stampa

In the great tradition of short stories by contemporary women writers, a new collection devoted to childhood from the wonderful and exquisite voice of Beatrice Masini, novelist, translator, beloved author of children’s books widely translated. 

Childhood is a time of loneliness and possibilities. Everything is brand new, every day a discovery. Adults are there to protect, to explain, to set boundaries, but there is somehow a blind spot in their perspective: by looking at the world from their height they miss so many details. And these details are what matters most to children: events and things that stand up in their visual field, that are important, sometimes overwhelming, often misunderstood.

In these folds lies the meaning of life according to children: secrets and mysteries, small facts that get to be gigantic, astonishing discoveries. Everything fresh and raw and so, so attractive, so dangerous, so surprising, so scary. Fear is what you feel when you do not understand something. And there are so many things that children cannot understand. They go to war unarmed every single morning. Sometimes they win, just out of sheer luck, sometimes they lose. In this, again, they are lonely. In loneliness they change and grow up. Fears will shift with age and loss. And just when one thinks to have outlived the worst, to be grown up enough, there it all starts again: remembering how scary it was out there, fearing for one own’s children, trying to protect them, and failing.

In seven stories and a novella Beatrice’s children happen to be happy, just for a while, or are sorrowfully unhappy, sometimes abused by adults because of too much love or too much hatred. Allegra, Byron’s daughter, longing for love and attention, sent away to a monastery; Ottavio, looking back at the time when he and his brother shared a playhouse, before war came and Pietro decided to join the Resistance; Nina, scared by the monstrous wave of kidnappings and killings of her peer in the seventies, set to defend herself by evoking her heroes from tv shows and beloved books for help; Achille, wishing to murder a ferocious smaller kid who is slaughtering starfish at the beach.

Beatrice Masini – as a fierce and poised tightrope walker, lighthearted and sweet – describes with fine and sharp prose a world and a time when children feel immortal, life is made of fire, water, wind and air, and adulthood is too far away to offer any explanation. No fear of wasps, ants and bumblebees, but greater the love, greater the fear.

Beatrice Masini

Beatrice Masini - © Isabelle Boccon-Gibod

Beatrice Masini was born and lives in Milan. She is a successful writer of books for children and teens, translated into over 20 languages, from Finnish to Thai. Working as an editor in an Italian publishing group, she also translated books such as the Harry Potter saga by J. K. Rowling. Among her works, La spada e il cuore. Donne della Bibbia (2003, Premio Elsa Morante Ragazzi 2004) and Signore e signorine. Corale greca (2002, Premio Pippi 2004). In 2004 she received the prestigious Andersen Prize as best children’s author of the year. Her first novel for the adult readership is Tentativi di botanica degli affetti (2013, Premio Selezione Campiello), followed by I nomi che diamo alle cose (2016) and the short story collection Più grande la paura (2019).

 

 

 

“Masini has an exact and profound prose”. La Repubblica

“The complexity of childhood”. La Stampa

“A quiet agitation, maybe restrained, and definitely noteworthy”. Il Sole 24 Ore

“Every short story moves you, on a different level”. Avvenire

“Masini’s writing always gets to the point, but with elegance”. Il Foglio

 

Foreign publishers of Beatrice Masini’s works

Canada: Éditions Fides
France: Éditions des Deux Terres, Le Livre de Poche
Spain: Salamandra
US and UK: Macmillan

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