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No Reason to be so Happy (Così allegre senza nessun motivo)

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Original Language: Italian | 240 pp. | June 2019

2 Seas Represents: Dutch

Rossana Campo won the Premio Strega Giovani 2016

WOMEN’S FICTION

Paraphrasing the title of her previous, fortunate novel DOVE TROVERETE UN PADRE COME IL MIO (Premio Strega Giovani and Premio Elsa Morante), one thinks, “where will you find dialogues like the ones that Rossana Campo writes?” Even in this new, COSI’ ALLEGRE SENZA NESSUN MOTIVO, in fact, there is an exchanges of lines, easygoing and brilliant, that captures more than anything else about this story of women, encounters, books, friendships. Campo is always extremely skilful in intertwining dialogs, a rare virtue in our literature. She imagines a sparking reading group, an all-female line-up, dealing with women writers and books, which allows her to give voice to a choir of fifty year old young women, still willing to be conquered by a story. The women in the reading club have a guideline: novels and essays must be written by female minds … and another type of unsaid rule, they eat and drink delicious things, sometimes they cry, maybe over a former husband, but more often they laugh, there is always the joy of friends and women to support them. Readers will be the ones who’ll find reasons of joy, because this is really a terrific book: warm, honest, tenmder, like the most true friendships. — Silvia Ballestra, Tuttolibri, La Stampa

A story of women in Paris: brought together by their passion for books, ready to share stories of falling in love with the right person (or the wrong one) and to lose themselves in chatter, laughter and drink to find the levity they need to face the world. 

Patti is an Italian living in Paris, she has just turned fifty and is struggling with an unwanted change: the Pigalle bar where she works is set to close. Manu, the herbalist; Lily with the bad temper, who organises weddings; Alice, who writes books for children; Yumiko, half Japanese, half Italian; Sandra, the gallerist who doesn’t say much but whose narrow eyes see everything. They are a group of women who love to devour books and chat about what they have read: they are Les Chiennes Savantes.

Between Lebanese and Sicilian menus, they swap stories that are sometimes tragic, sometimes comical, just like life. They compare notes on the men they put on pedestals, on the children they did or did not have, on older mothers who still want to fall in love. They can lose themselves in talk and wine, and even meet a special woman called Amanda who Patti invites to join the group, only to find out that they share the same all-time favourite book: Wuthering Heights.

Così allegre senza nessun motivo celebrates the very essence of women, multiform creatures, unclassifiable according to the typically male criteria to which society has accustomed us. It is an ode to friendship, composed of complicity, honesty and a sense of humour. Rossana Campo is an author like no other, who tells the stories of the female world with realistic language, who can find wonders in everyday life. This novel serves as an amulet, able to evoke, not only on the page, but also in our lives, the creative power that can come from a group of women and inspire us all, regardless of gender.