The title has something evocative, magical. But as in all the books of Mazzi, emotion does not lie because then, on the page, you can see the authenticity of a true story, that of Antonietta called “Neta”, another figure (in the author’s bibliography) of that remote Italian alpine province on whose stage characters and events of great history move. All told in the unmistakable style, slightly veined with  melancholy and flashes of contagious comedy, that readers have learned to appreciate and recognize in the Ossola writer. The book is presented Wednesday, December 7, 2011 (18 hours) at the Grossi Library in Domodossola (VB, Italy).

We read from the cover of “The girl who was afraid of the storm” (Editions Interlinea, pages 160, € 18.00): The adventurous and almost legendary story of Antonietta (Netta), as beautiful as Liz Taylor, and Franco called “Ranca”, sfrusìn and partisan of the eighth Matteotti, mother and father of Giuliana Sgrena. To their lives and those of their families are intertwined the small history of the Val d’Ossola, with the epic struggle between smugglers and financiers, and the great history of Italy, from the retreat of Russia to the partisan struggle, to the Liberation, until arrive at the kidnapping of Giuliana in Iraq. A novel that is a precious testimony of a people and a border valley.

Benito Mazzi , journalist, writer and scholar of alpine traditions, has always lived in the Ossola valley Vigezzo, where he set many of his books, published with several publishers (Rizzoli, Fabbri, Priuli & Verlucca, Ediciclo, Casagrande) and often translated abroad. Among the volumes of fiction published by Interlinea we remember In the gypsy sun. Stories of smugglers (1997, selection of the Strega prize), A man who counts (1998, selection of Bancarella Sport prize), When barking the fox (2001), The eagle of Tappia in the Giro d’Italia (2003, with Marco della Vedova) , The invincibles of the snow (2005, with an intervention by Mario Rigoni Stern) and, for children, the story of Christmas Il sogno di Gibo (1996). This is his 46th book.

In the Delina tavern, singing and dancing were not allowed. If a half-blasphemy escaped to a patron, the woman, weighing in at a steady 120 kilos and lumberjack’s arms, gently lifted him up and deposited him on the steps outside the door. A few years after the opening of the tavern – there was still Giuanìn, her husband -, they had taken away the license to rescue a young smuggler injured by a burst of finance. It was night, crying with pain, the tapino, out on the street, lost blood and asked for help. Without hesitation, even aware of the risk that ran, Delina and her husband had transported him home giving him first treatment. The day after, the Giuanìn had rushed to the doctor’s office to take the doctor to Santa Maria Maggiore. The complaint for aiding was taken immediately:
At the outbreak of World War II, Delina again had to close its doors. The Osteria degli Amici, by superior decision, became the barracks of the border militia. The geraniums in the windows were replaced by sinister loopholes and the owner, evicted with her daughters, in turn evicted the woodsmen, taking their place in the little house under the road.