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Relative values: resisting desire and individuation in Barbara Garlaschelli's 'Alice nell'ombra' and 'Sorelle'

Di Ciolla, Nicoletta (2003) Relative values: resisting desire and individuation in Barbara Garlaschelli's 'Alice nell'ombra' and 'Sorelle'. ISSN 1916-5412 (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Barbara Garlaschelli (Milan, 1965), a successful author of literature for adolescents, editor of children's series and publishing consultant, has recently received acclaim in Italy as one of the most interesting new voices in noir fiction, with two novels published two years apart: Alice nell ombra (2002) and Sorelle (2004)1. Although the novels clearly represent two distinct moments in Garlaschelli's literary development -- something which is apparent in the differing structures, narrative strategies and linguistic registers -- they are both set against a common and disturbingly claustrophobic family milieu. It is against this shared backdrop that a female protagonist struggles to reconcile herself with the notions of disenfranchisement and individuation, in an attempt to negotiate a novel formulation of self in the face of extremely adverse personal and familiar circumstances. The aim of this article is to explore how, departing from the canonical structure of crime fiction, Garlaschelli weaves two unsettling tales of love and prevarication, unearthing that obscure side of society which lives and propagates itself from within the bosom of the family.

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