A letter to Dina

English and French sample available

Following her success with Mare d’inverno (Giunti 2014), Grazia Verasani returns to a theme close to her heart: friendship between women.
The long letter that forms this novel is veiled in tenderness and melancholy, which makes reading it particularly engaging and touching.
The backdrop is a vibrant, student-filled Bologna, during the most inflamed years of its political history.
A Letter to Dina is the story of a momentous, all-encompassing friendship in adolescent age and of the scars that it left, as well as a consideration on maturity and to what became of love, dreams, and the ideals of youth.

One morning in 1973, Dina walked into class 2H. She was twelve; she wore an expensive fur coat; she had blonde hair and was fat. She turned to the new classmate sitting next to her and said, “I’m a fascist”. The other girl replied, “I’m a communist”. It was the beginning of a great friendship. Despite coming from profoundly different backgrounds, the two young girls become inseparable, spending their time discussing, promising, arguing and making up. It is solitude that unites them, imagination and a growing difficulty to face the reality that surrounds them. At the age of fifteen, following her parents’ separation, Dina turns into a beautiful and desperate adolescent in conflict with her mother and with herself. Turbulent years begin: she leaves school, repeatedly attempts to commit suicide, ends up in a number of different hospitals and chooses heroine as her only anaesthetic against her pain. The narrating voice, the writer of the letter, is that of the friend who, in a difficult moment of her own life, needs to come to terms with her past; Dina has gone, she died before reaching thirty, and her death is by no means without mystery. Or fault. Now, only one of them can rewind the tape, go back over the tracks of that broken relationship and perhaps accept that for certain ties there are not final goodbyes.

GRAZIA VERASANI was born in Bologna. A writer, screenwriter, and musician, she is the author of Quo vadis Baby? (2004), also a film by Gabriele Salvatores. Published in France, the novel was shortlisted for Prix SNCF for Best European Noir. Her other novels include Velocemente da nessuna parte (2006), and Cosa sai della notte (2012), Mare d’Inverno (Giunti Editore 2014), winner of Premio Rosa 2015. www.graziaverasani.it