Prendiamoci cura della Terra

If the Earth is thirsty

Prolonged drought, torrid summers interrupted by storms and disastrous floods are the daily news in this devastated territory of ours. The life of those who cultivate the land becomes more difficult every day: a big storm or a hailstorm is enough to lose entire crops and months of work in a few moments. In small rural communities, climatic “whims” cause great hardships, in addition to the harvests, the identity of the entire community is lost, the towns are depopulated, and the inhabitants seek a new life in the cities, far from their roots.

Authore: Guido Conti | Editore: Bompiani, 2023
Pagine: 192| EAN: 192

With a language as direct and simple as the people who live in rural villages, Guido Conti in his novel “La siccità” leads us to Montù Beccaria, a small village in the Oltrepò Pavese, where small family businesses struggle to keep going and where the cracked earth is turned to dust due to lack of rain, threatening the life and future of the community. There lives Andrea, the protagonist, a boy who goes to school and lives with his family and who becomes a witness to the changes brought about by a drought that has now lasted for two years and does not give a break.

Even all the wild animals have begun to behave strangely; thirsty and looking for food they get closer and closer to inhabited centers and have become aggressive: the badgers looking for water and fresh food dig among the graves in the cemetery; the aggressive and numerous wild boars, thirsty and hungry kill old Bill Andrea’s dog, who tried to hinder them in their raids. And then there is the damage caused by roe deer, porcupines and foxes.

The poetry and beauty of the countryside thus crash against the tension caused by the announced loss of crops which leads to a war against wildlife guilty of devastating vineyards, vegetable gardens and chicken coops and with the installation of traps and leghold traps.

Overwhelmed by this whirlwind of events Andrea would like to escape like many others have done before him. He won’t be able to leave his roots and, although torn between the desire to leave and to stay, also for the love for a fox cub found next to his mother who ended up in a trap, he will decide to stay, despite not sharing the cruel reaction of his father and uncle towards wild animals.

Pain and loss alternate in this long, hot summer and for Andrea it will be a moment of growth, awareness and love for every detail that nature shows us in all its seasons.


Guido Conti is a writer, illustrator, editor, essayist and teacher. He won the 1998 Chiara Prize for the stories of “The crocodile on the altar”, the 1999 Selezione Campiello Prize for “The glass skies”, the 2008 Hemingway Prize for the critics with “Giovannino Guareschi, biography of a writer” and the Carlo Levi Award 2013 with “The great river Po”. As a teacher he has published “Learning to write with grown-ups”. For over twenty years he has held teaching workshops on reading and writing from elementary schools to university masters in communication.

Maria Beatrice Lupi, a naturalist and expert in training, planning for sustainable development, participatory methodologies, and European planning. Currently, she is involved in dissemination and education for sustainability.

Translation by Maria Antonietta Sessa