Special mention at XXVI Calvino Prize
"Some people are born beautiful, some with brains. I was born beautiful."
Puritanical Rosetta Drago, the sensible, social-climbing daughter of the graveyard flower-seller, was born elegant, even though she lives, for now, on a council estate in an unnamed Sicilian city that reeks of chips and boiled cabbage. "Some people are born beautiful, some with brains. I was born beautiful." Her longing to scale the social ladder goes hand in glove with an irrepressible desire to fill her life with pretty things (jewellery, clothes, furniture, Swarovski crystal). Such an earthly paradise is to be found in the rich part of town, and only a good marriage can secure her access to it and give her the status that would put an end to her suffering. This mission, which ultimately fails when the climb up proves to be as long and arduous as her subsequent fall and return to the council estate are dramatic, is accompanied by an unshakeable faith and acts of religious devotion, including praying, mass and solemn processions. The story is wrapped up in a scathingly funny finale in which our prissy protagonist Rosetta sees her dream collapse, but deals with it in her unerring and inimitable....elegance.
This short, sprightly novel has a vein of gentle comic satire, making it refreshingly good fun in its penchant for absurdity and slightly wicked sense of humour, indeed, The temporary happiness of Mrs Rosetta could easily be a modern-day version of a 1980s Italian comedy script. The strength of the narrative and writing style lie in the comic power of several of the situations, created through the clever meeting of eyes, images and thoughts. A highly enjoyable, fun, offbeat read, this book is original in both its structure and in the frothy inventiveness of the language.
Tiziana Sferruggia was born in 1969 in Mazara del Vallo, and currently lives in Marsala. She studies humanities and collaborates with a weekly paper in her hometown, commenting on current affairs and reviewing the arts. This is her first novel.
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