Erin Doom, phenomenology of the mysterious (and tearful) writer

The book Fabricator of tears was the most popular in Italy in 2022. How was such an extraordinary success possible? We asked Gian Arturo Ferrari, who did publishing in Italy. And what an idea he has


Gian Arturo Ferrari is sitting in the last room of a series of rooms dominated by books. He is the man who has been at the top of Rizzoli and Mondadori and who with Confidential history of Italian publishing he has revealed its secrets and mechanisms. On the stool in front of her there are Soliloquy by Benedetto Croce, Putin di Philip Short Leadership by Henry Kissinger. In the middle, dividing the same space on the stool, there is – ideally, of course – Tearmaker by Erin Doom. Genre: young adult, that's right. The novel, published and already a best seller in 2021, was the best seller of 2022, overtaking The Alaska Sanders case from the bestseller Joël Dicker or Violet by Isabel Allende. It has sold 330 thousand copies, an extraordinary result and confirmed by The way the snow falls , another Doom novel later released by Salani, climbed to eighth best-selling books. A writer, anonymous because Doom is a pseudonym, copy grinder. This is why we asked Ferrari, the man who made Italian publishing, to read it and explain to us how such a success was possible: «I think there is a strong thirst for sentimentality, which this book takes to the extreme» .

Ilary Blasi after the court: dinner with Michelle Hunziker (and Bastian?) Ilary Blasi after the court: dinner with Michelle Hunziker (and Bastian?)

Alba Donati, the poet who left everything to open a bookshop on top of a hill (and is now a star) – guard

What is the difference with sentimentality? “Sentimentality is a pejorative. This book is built on absoluteness and evidently expresses a need. It means that the public, especially females, has an inexhaustible desire to hear stories where absolute love, devoid of any compromise with reality, is expressed to the max'.

In your opinion, is the need for absoluteness linked to these tormented years? «The singular thing is that there is a need for it in this period, marked by numbers and statistics. That, despite the enormous change of customs, despite everything one thinks of the so-called young people, then the so-called young people in the depths of their souls have this idea. Or at least they're attracted to it.'

Could the stock have affected sales? “The title is very good. In the book we cry, it's a very tearful story. Our society excludes crying, it's not even a socially recognized way of communicating, but here it is. Tear maker immediately asks two questions: who makes them and why?».

Erin Doom is officially a recent graduate who lives in the province. Is it possible that there is a couple or a collective behind it? «The most singular thing about this novel is its length, more than 600 pages. I think the original idea to write an entire book with this axis came from one person. Instead, it could be carried out by several people ».

Books of Today: what 2022 leaves us – video

Does the book have a change of tone in the writing that suggests several hands? «My friends Fruttero and Lucentini wrote together and it is clear which pieces were written by one and the other. In this book I did not get the impression of leaps of this kind.

The author cites Focault, Iron Maiden, Baricco, Edward Scissorhands who is from 1990. Can a recent graduate have cultural references so distant from her generation? «Literary creation is not determined by how one grows up, by what one has done or has not done. The Bronte sisters have spent their entire lives locked up in a rectory, embroidering».

Could the use of a pseudonym have helped? 'Yes. But what matters in this case is the idea of ​​proposing a hyper-romantic story today. I must add that if the book is very long, one almost never gets the feeling that it has been stretched out».

The novel is said to owe its success to word of mouth on TikTok. «Very likely: TikTok is related to crying. Do you think The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller had virtually no echo until a TikToker said she cried reading it. One imagines TikTok as a disenchanted social network, in truth it works very well when it touches the heart, or rather, the torments of the heart'.

Gian Arturo Ferrari: “The beauty of publishing is the constant risk. The bad thing is that culture is enslaved' - laws

How important are the names of the protagonists, Rigel and Nica? «The name Rigel is a good choice ( pronounced Righel, it is an Arabic name, that of a star in the constellation of Orion , ed.). Another interesting aspect is sex: it's not clear when, let's say it vulgarly, they consume».

Would you have published the novel? 'I would have probably thought he could find his own audience, I never thought so big.'

So what grade does it give? 'Given what it sold: 8. Although it's not a novel I would have read if you hadn't asked me to.'