On a small Italian farm at the beginning of the Twentieth Century Noelie was born to an illiterate mother and an unknown father. Sixty years later, now a grandmother, Noelie regularly has friends to lunch: politicians, Libyan ministers, fishermen, poets, VIPs from the Vatican and childhood friends who are still subsistence farmers.
In the intervening years she rode across the Sahara on a camel; learned to fly planes to visit the Bedouins; kept chickens; swam for hours on end; played oil trader between several countries, and played cowboys and Indians with her grandchildren. She grew fantastically wealthy but never mentions it.
Noelie’s story is narrated by her granddaughter. She brings back to life this free-spirited woman who has imbued her family with joie de vivre, confidence and all the respect we owe our dreams, and whose life hides terrible secrets. The fairy story she has maintained explodes into a nightmare of twentieth-century history.
Born in 1971, Alexia Stresi always wanted to invent, experience and write. She studied languages, literature and philosophy, and also went to FAMU, the Czech film school where alumni Kundera, Forman and Kusturica lectured. Then she followed Milos Forman to Columbia University in New York, to work on screenplays. She spent a year at the Villa Médicis in Rome. After that she was an actor and screenwriter. Now she’s publishing her first novel, Looping.
Soixante ans plus tard, Noelie invite à déjeuner des célébrités de Cinecittà, ses amis du gouvernement, des ministres libyens du pétrole, des poètes, des huiles du Vatican et des amis d’enfance, restés ouvriers agricoles. Entre-temps, elle aura parcouru le Sahara à dos de chameau, piloté des avions pour rendre visite à des Bédouins, amassé une fortune et fait vivre ses rêves.
Qui est-elle ? D’où lui vient cette force, et son talent pour la vie ?
De ce qu’elle ne dit pas.