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The mystery of the "juvenile Elena Ferrante", the most successful author of last year in Italy


The arrival in Spain of 'Manufacturer of tears', which seduced millions of readers on the internet and later sold 450,000 copies, fuels the phenomenon of Erin Doom, the pseudonym of a young author who arouses enthusiasm, but also some very harsh accusation

The writer Erin Doom, photographed from behind. Yuma Martellanz

Millions of readers know his novels.

They've been enjoyed, shared, and pushed to the top of last year's bestseller books.

Only a handful of people, however, know who the new case in Italian literature really is.

The family, the editor and little else.

The mystery around the “juvenile Elena Ferrante” —as she is baptized by the Montena label, which now brings her most famous work to Spain,

Tears Maker—

grows just like her triumph


Although, under a chorus of massive enthusiasm, very loud accusations resound on the internet: normalizing abuse or violence in love, reiterating stereotypes, or even contributing to a setback in feminism.

Books, teenagers, success, money, social networks, hidden identity, controversies: the Erin Doom phenomenon is served.

Regarding the anonymous writer par excellence, yes, the most recent one has leaked some information: her name is Matilde, she is from Emilia Romagna, she is less than 30 years old and has a degree in Law.

The rest is left to the imagination of each one.

Although perhaps her pseudonym offers some clue.

In other words, as she herself explains by email, “an Irish term associated with nature and freedom” and the word 'fate' in English, “that arcane and inexplicable force that connects my characters and their stories”.


Tears Maker

began on Wattpad, a colossal digital community where any writer can show their works in front of millions of users.

There, Doom used another alias: Dreamseater (eater of dreams, in English).

And he was publishing in installments the story of Nica and Rigel, two orphans united by adoption, a common past, a dark attraction and a disturbing legend.

Chapter after chapter, more and more Internet users were following the progress of the plot.

Until they numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

"Wattpad was really what launched my career," sums up the American writer Jo Watson, who there achieved up to six million readers for

A kiss in the dark .

, before transferring it to the physical format (Planet).

Both authors share an origin that today unites various creators, especially novels for young people.

They emphasize that the platform allowed them to cultivate the hobby of telling stories, while they were engaged in other professions;

that, suddenly, they saw how the numbers of views began to multiply, a blessing that can also come to suppose a weight and a responsibility;

and they underline that such a direct relationship with readers is an "optimal gym to know your strengths and limitations", in the words of Doom.

Although the Italian also points out one of the implicit dangers in Wattpad: "The risk of plagiarism is widespread."

“I found some of the feedback from readers really helpful, and I've sometimes tweaked my story if they felt something wasn't working or they didn't like a particular element,” Watson says.

Here is a controversial aspect: a filter as useful as the one that always existed in the traditional editing process or a limitation of creative freedom in search of pleasing more the public?

The writer provides the personal example of

A Kiss in the Dark

: she believes that the novel, about adolescents but written by someone who was no longer adolescent, became "stronger" above all thanks to the opinion of the youngest.

Jo Watson, in a promotional image. Gareth Paul

What is also true is that Wattpad allows you to generate a group of readers potentially interested in buying the work.

So much so that, on December 20, 2020, Doom launched to self-publish on Amazon.

“I started to understand that things were changing when the book started to go up there.

And on the national lists, ”he recounts.

Because, the next day, the publisher Magazzini Salani contacted her to complete the upside-down journey of her work: from the Internet and direct impact to the traditional channel, made of paper and intermediaries.

Just, on the other hand, the label that publishes in Italy JK Rowling, the mother of

Harry Potter,

which Doom has repeatedly identified as responsible for his spell with literature.

A videoconference chat, a deal, the best-selling book title of 2022 in Italy—450,000 copies—and a film adaptation already underway followed.

Word of mouth on the Tik Tok social network also triggered the phenomenon.

The takeoff of

Maker of Tears

has even brought with it

Nel modo in cui cade la neve

, the first Doom novel, written after finishing science high school, which has also now landed in bookstores, and in the best-selling rankings.

Both books are also united by themes and protagonists: a young woman without parents, a boy as dark as he is attractive, and a problematic idyll.

“I believe that love can have many facets, not always delicate.

Often, a feeling can be born even between people who, despite their difficulties, their defects and their stories, manage to find a way to understand each other in the impossibility”, reflects the Italian.

Perhaps it is just the recipe that has hooked thousands of followers —its audience is mostly female.

The novel also touches on issues such as abuse or drug use, so much so that a note at the beginning of the volume warns of "sensitive content."

“Children are often silent victims.

I wanted to draw more attention to situations that are not talked about enough, such as the guardianship of minors or the manipulations and abuses from which they should be safeguarded”, argues Doom, whose legal career, apparently, also focuses on this area. .

Cover of 'Maker of Tears', by Erin Doom, edited by Montena.

There are, however, those who believe that his book encourages just the opposite.

Because, in addition to kissing, Nica and Rigel grab, push or yell at each other.

There will be those who consider it passion;

but on platforms like Goodreads you can read angry reviews accusing Doom of calling mistreatment love.

And, in addition, to treat child abuse superficially.

“I think that a book, or any other work, is perceived from the subjectivity of each one.

I respect all opinions, because it is part of the job.

Although Rigel seeks to keep Nica away from her with a twisted character consistent with her character, he is actually afraid to touch her: she is mentioned many times in her story.

Although I understand that she is a very controversial character, it is the demonstration that not accepting ourselves, with our inclinations and feelings, for fear of being judged or rejected,

it hurts us and those we love.

In the end, we are what we choose to be, also beyond our traumas, pains and countless limitations”, she answers.

The writer, on the other hand, prefers to ignore the question about possible influences outside of Rowling, although in other cases she has cited

George Orwell's 1984 or

Ray Bradbury's

Fahrenheit 451

as two of her favorite novels.

She also avoids clarifying if she plans to leave the legal activity and dedicate herself full time to literature, a step that Jo Watson has already taken, for example.

There are, however, no more evasions in her answers: Doom says that her life has not changed in a "drastic" way and she tries to "never" forget where she comes from;

that the anonymity is due to a "very reserved nature" and the desire for privacy, for which she is a little afraid of what happened with Ferrante: the secret fueled curiosity, but also investigations to try to reveal it.

The young author does not rule out telling one day who she is.

But she wants it to happen at her own pace, even though her parents are dying to tell "everyone" about it.

For now, she has taken another step: she allowed herself to be photographed by

Vanity Fair magazine,

although with her face covered.

Meanwhile, she is preparing her third novel.

She assures that she will get away from the other two.

Love, family and difficulties, yes, they will once again be the central pillars.

Her readers, after all, already know her very well.

Or not.

Source: elparis

All life articles on 2023-02-05

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