An extremely lonely forty-something decides to have a baby, and she does it in the most solitary way possible—online.
One night, Bea goes to the online sperm bank and buys the sperm equivalent of a Ferrari: fast, excellent, well-constructed. She will get pregnant by mail, a practical method with no contraindications.
Unfortunately, the result of that delicate online shopping experience is disappointing, and non-returnable. The Body. The Body doesn’t look like his mother’s expectations—although his genes were carefully selected. The woman finds herself forced to learn how to love him, an exhausting experience as The Body does nothing to meet her half-way in her attempt to forget all about herself. Luckily, another woman enters the scene, chosen after long consideration between many candidates from all over the world to be the perfect nanny for The Body. Elsa is Eritrean and couldn’t be more different from Bea: their relationship is a constant clash of civilisation in the kitchen, with a surprising sense of sisterhood when it comes to taking care of “their” son, Arturo. A sisterhood that collapses when Bea realizes Arturo is more Elsa’s son than her own . . .
Corpo a corpo is a sharp, black-humoured novel with a provocative, fierce voice and a mission: the accurate destruction of the toxic ‘perfect motherhood’ stereotype, through the story of a single, 40-something new mother who struggles with post-partum depression. She hears voices in her head, has a disturbingly co-dependent relationship with her babysitter, hates her therapist, and is overwhelmed by the life she created, ‘the Body’ as she calls him, whom she can’t seem to be able to recognize as her own. It’s dark, heartbreakingly funny, poignant and most of all painfully true. While reading this book you will be horrified at times but also in awe of the courage of the author, able to finally say what everyone else doesn’t want to admit: motherhood is no pic-nic, and it’s not women’s fault. Society makes women feel like not having a child makes them worthless, and puts toxic pressure on women to build a family even when they are not ready or well suited to do so. Bea gives us her take on motherhood without ever sugar-coating the ugly bits, but ultimately finding some surprising form of hope and redemption. Her voice will stay with you long after you have finished reading.
Silvia Ranfagni teaches Screenwriting and Creative Writing at Rome University of Fine Arts, and has written screenplays for cinema and articles for Il Venerdì di Repubblica and Micromega. Being a woman and a mammal, she also produced life— an exhausting experience. In 2020 she was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the David di Donatello Awards.