Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Francesco Marco Aresu, Tiphanie Yanique

Major

Italian Studies, English

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Somewhere Between Earth and Heaven is a novella that follows Ersilia, a seventeen year old girl on the brink of marriage, living in 1794 in the Salentine peninsula. As she nears this threshold between girlhood and womanhood, inundated with pressure to uphold her family’s honor, and to heal their generational trauma, something in her changes forever. She finds solace in the ancient hysteria and ritual of tarantism, dancing day after day, night after night with a mysterious spider who possesses her. Meanwhile, her mother Immacolata must grapple with their family’s new reality, and with the hidden underbelly of her daughter, of herself, that has suddenly come to light. Over the course of Ersilia’s illness, they each contend in their own ways with brokenness, healing, and the fact that some things can never be undone.

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