La Guerrera – Marilù Oliva’s Warrior Trilogy
Thursday 6 October, 1pm Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL
Recognised as the Italian capital of noir, Bologna, still produces striking crime writers. Oliva belongs to the generation following Grazia Verasani and Carlo Lucarelli. She embodies today’s noir Bologna, at once continuing and revolutionising crime literature with the Trilogia della Guerrera [Woman Warrior Trilogy], the first multilingual transcultural series set in a refreshingly new Latin Bologna. The trilogy’s titles, ¡Tu la pagaràs! (2011) [You will pay for it], Fuego (2012) [Fire] and Mala suerte (2013) [Misfortune] and all salsa songs are in Spanish. Oliva transcends regional and national borders while continuing Italian crime fiction’s engagement with social issues: uncertain working conditions, immigration and violence against women. Although Oliva’s eclectic approach to genre, structure, style and content is not unusual in noir, what stands out, besides the unprecedented portrayal of Latin Bologna, is the choice of protagonist, languages, and investigative approach. Oliva’s knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures, and world mythology, along with Classical literature, including Dante’s Divine Comedy, allows her to add an unusual depth and breadth to her crime fiction. The trilogy constitutes an innovative noir itinerary into mezcla—an explosive anthropological mix—both material and esoteric, into Latin American music and dance, ancient magical Bononia besides present metropolitan Bologna. My research aims to bring Oliva’s work to the attention of academic communities by highlighting the innovative energy she brings to noir.
Piera Carroli is Senior Lecturer and Convener of the Italian Studies Program in SLLL. She has published on literature, applied linguistics and pedagogy. Her most recent work is on the representation of otherness and mezcla in Italian noir. She was interviewed on SBS Italian Radio about her research on Marilù Oliva.