Germany and Italy. Two friends between closeness and distance. What keeps them together, why can't they break away from each other?
When Ellis is a small child, her parents’ marriage fails. As a result she moves with her mother from Italy to Germany. Life in the new environment is difficult, the children at school ostracize her. One day a new girl comes to school, Grace: with her a friendship develops that gives Ellis support and replaces her missing sense of belonging. Until Grace suddenly changes sides.
Years later, Ellis encounters Grace again and slowly they become closer. Ellis invites Grace to accompany her on her annual visit to her grandparents in Italy. There, the problematic dynamics of their friendship emerge anew; Ellis vacillates between angry withdrawal and hopeful attempts at rapprochement over Grace’s behavior. She remembers old conflicts, explores her own belonging, and becomes more and more aware of her feelings for Grace.
What does it mean to feel at home neither in the country where you live nor in the country where you were born? What keeps Ellis and Grace together? And can getting closer to Grace answer the question of Ellis’ cultural identity? In delicate language rich in imagery, Selene Mariani’s novel episodically explores these questions, with flashbacks of associative memories repeatedly being weaved into the narrated present time.
Selene Mariani, born in 1994, grew up in Verona and Dresden and lives in Hanover. She studied at the ›Literaturinstitut Hildesheim‹ and is active as a tutor of writing workshops and on the board of the ›Autor:innenzentrum Hannover‹. In 2021, she published her story collection »Miniaturen in Blau«. »Ellis« is her debut novel.