Blessed Be the Fruit
Original title: Benedetto il frutto
«It is not the truth that sets Sister Faustina free, it is sex instead. And this is all women’s truth». — Teresa Ciabatti
Between theological references and meticulous sex scenes, the book deals with the rediscovery of the body as an identity revelation. — La Repubblica
Blessed be the fruit is Giulia Villoresi’s new novel, out on the 7h of June by Marsilio Editore. It tells the story of the discovery of sexuality for Faustina, a young half Italian half Portuguese nun, living in Rome in the Nineties. It’s an erotic novel, a story of a coming of age, a book full of theological insights. The novel has a specific kind of writing, so enlighted and precise that even in the sex scenes it manages to convey to the reader both emotion and arousal. It is a novel that can make the reader uncomfortable with its meticulous descriptions but that contains, in its warning to the reader, suggestions on how to approach the book: “The only advice I have for the readers is: while you are reading this, trust your heart”. — Robinson, la Repubblica
Faustina, of Portuguese descent, spent her teenage years in a small town in the outskirts of Rome dreaming of her future as a nun with the same confidence girls her age dreamt of theirs as brides. This is all she knows about herself. Motherless, with a rude and unresponsive father and many relatives in the clergy, she is not even twenty when she takes the vows and enters a prestigious religious institute as a novice.
We are in Rome in the early nineties. Now that her dream came true, Faustina can finally breathe. She is sharp, reliable, kind to their sisters, and welcomed by the Mother Superior; she blushes all the time and she never thinks poorly of something or someone; she is not ambitious, she has no real friends or something interesting to say. It looks like she has all she ever wanted from life. And yet, underneath this personality, there is another one desperately trying to be acknowledged. On a day like any other, Eros, “like the Northern wind, red with thunders”, shows up uninvited in Faustina’s life. What will follow is the tale of a nun and also the story of everyone who discovers their body belatedly.
Because Faustina’s tale draws on one of the most powerful erotic (and literary) cliché of all time, it tells the story of the sexual repression of society as a whole. A novel about the body, written through it, to be read by it.
«Birdy. You now have a big chance: you can search yourself inside out. Or you can turn the other way, go back to the self you used to be, and, as you say, live like a tiny ghost. You have to chance to choose. Be brave.»