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The novel was awarded the Studer/Ganz prize for the best first work.

Virginia Helbling
Dove nascono le madri
15×21 cm, 112 pp
ISBN 978-88-97308-36-2

Virginia Helbling
Where mothers are born
Novel

Motherhood is always a powerful, unsettling experience. The main character of this novel has just become a mother; her newborn girl is sleeping close to her in her hospital cradle, and she doesn’t even know how to pick her up. She must learn how to be a mother from scratch, while helplessly witnessing her own body’s distressing change. Her domestic life gets stuck in a rut: there’s an unknown being now that requires feeding and taking care of, and the days just seem to wither away. Carving out a few minutes to play the piano is almost impossible for the mother, while little seems to have changed for the father, who carries on with his career as a violinist without a care in the world. Most of the time he’s away; and when he’s at home, he doesn’t seem to care.
Nature – in the familiar form of a grove by her house – seems to be the only guide and comfort through the young mother’s quest for awareness. As she gradually discovers and accepts her own strength and frailty, she starts to see herself as a “newborn mother”, while yearning to be born again as a woman. She has to let go of the tired clichés about motherhood and start paying attention to her own needs. As unsteady and difficult as it is, after this pregnancy of the soul the protagonist will give birth to a new self.

Virginia Helbling was born in Lugano in 1974. She studied Arts and Philosophy at the University of Freiburg and had a career as a journalist. She is a mother of six.

No longer available:  German


En bref en français

Le premier roman de Virginia Helbling Dove nascono le madri, récompensé en 2016 par le prix Studer/Ganz décerné pour la première fois en Suisse italienne, narre l’histoire d’une femme qui vient de mettre un enfant au monde. Ce changement radical qui survient dans sa vie déstabilise la narratrice et éveille le sentiment oppressant d’être dépossédée d’elle-même. Le rythme narratif nous transporte et fait alterner des scènes de la vie quotidienne avec des récits de promenades dans la nature et de rencontres. La musique est un leitmotiv important, tel un double à travers lequel la protagoniste tente de se familiariser avec le rôle maternel, mais également de se trouver elle-même. (alp, trad. msk)

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No longer available:  German