Francesco Aloe’s Climate Fiction: Ruins, Bodies and Memories from the Future in "L’ultima bambina d’Europa"


  • Anna Chiafele Auburn University



Italian cli-fi, Anthropocene, estrangement effect, corporeality, petroculture, collapse


L’ultima bambina d’Europa (The Last Girl of Europe), written by Francesco Aloe, is a captivating example of Italian cli-fi. Inspired by Pulitzer-prizewinning American novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy, L’ultima bambina d’Europa narrates the story of a young Italian family traveling southbound in an exhausting voyage toward Africa; presumably, there the sun is still visible, the wind is softly blowing, and water and food supplies have not run out, at least, not yet. In this article, I will analyze some of the main cli-fi topoi and I will connect them to the narrative and rhetorical construction employed by the author. Specifically, I will focus on the effect of estrangement, which will encourage readers to embrace a less anthropocentric gaze. Through the perspective of the main protagonists - mother, father and their daughter Sofia - readers will become aware of the gluttonous nature of capitalism that functions only for a few. In their voyage, these three characters traverse a barren and devastated landscape void of temporal and spatial references. However, in this unspecified gloomy future scenario, readers will recognize the ruins of our current society and of our petroculture, heavily influenced by the American model of consumerism. Sofia’s parents, who seem to suffer from “petro-melancholia” (LeMenager, Living Oil 102), recollect nostalgically the petrochemical culture in which they grew up. This is in stark contrast with Sofia’s perspective; she has no recollection of a capitalist society. Finally, this analysis will underline Aloe’s prowess in situating death among the living, the place where it rightfully belongs.


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Author Biography

Anna Chiafele, Auburn University

Anna Chiafele is an Assistant Professor of Italian at Auburn University, United States. She has published a book on Luigi Malerba as well as articles on detective fiction, noir and waste.






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