Her life has been marked by successive dramas which are as many traumas: the separation of her parents, the accidental death of her older brother, depression and then the premature death of her mother, found unconscious one morning.
She is five years old when her father takes her on his lap to tell her that her mother has died. She will be kept away from the funeral, overprotected for the rest of her life, raised by paternal grandparents who adore her, and perpetuate the myth of the great actress, the sublime Romy Schneider. However for her, the star, so beautiful and admired, whose love stories she knows and whose films she has seen, is not her mother: there is a gaping hole in that place. And as soon as she thinks about it, she cries.
She became an actress herself; she does not play in the cinema but in the theatre. She has a companion who loves her and who has won her trust: with him, she wants a child. He already has a son whom she takes care of, but without ever taking the place of the mother, Sarah Biasini underlines in her book. 
Besides, could she? Her quest for a mother forces her to eternally remain “the daughter of” and prevents her from taking a mother’s place. There is something unachieved about her, as if the endless mourning she unveils did not allow her to move on to true life. The years go by, she works with directors, she undertakes a psychoanalysis, but her desire for a child meets only disappointment and emptiness. She is forty years old and begins to think that she will never be a mother.
An unforeseen event surprises her. A phone call from the police station tells her that her mother’s grave has been desecrated. She is seized with horror, in tears: why such an ordeal again? She hesitates before deciding to go there. A young female constable and the mayor of the village accompany her, surround her with a thousand precautions. For the first time, she takes care of her mother and goes to the cemetery that houses her burial. When she arrives, the tombstone has been perfectly sealed again; she says thanks, shakes hands and takes out her checkbook to pay for the work. She leaves exhausted but happy with this small intimate ceremony, only for her, without photos or social events.
Three weeks later, she is pregnant. And it is during her pregnancy that she feels the need to write a book for the child she is carrying. It will be a little girl, which makes her happy. Something enigmatic has been played out without her knowing, which finally allows her to have a child instead of remaining the bereaved daughter, confronted with the hole of the absence of a mother, in the midst of a profusion of images that represent her without embodying her.
This book is the testimony of an impasse followed by a denouement. The author touches with modesty and delicacy upon the pain of existence, but also the joy of living that she has inherited. She indignantly refutes any portrayal of her mother as a desperate woman at the end of her life, devastated by the tragic death of her son. Beyond that, we read in the background the haunting question of her inscription in the desire of the Other: what was she for her mother? And if it is true that she was desired and loved as her family asserts, why did her mother leave her alone? How is it that the bond of love that united them did not give her the strength to stay alive to take care of her daughter?
To want a child is first of all to want to be like other women – why should she not have the right to this happiness? It is also a way of closing again the tomb of the mother, in order to authorize herself to give life, despite the omnipresence of the dead, the tears and the mourning. The singularity of her desire for a child resides in that it carries existential stakes. Can life prevail over death? How to take the place of an irreplaceable mother? How to realize what she calls her “own desire to be a mother, multiplied tenfold by all that?” 
The happiness she feels the day she gives birth to her daughter is the feeling of having triumphed over destiny. This birth is proof that life has been transmitted from one generation to the next: “My mother is everywhere with me, even in the labor room,” she writes. The maternity room is an “ivory tower” where only little Anna’s father is allowed to enter.
She reconnects with what she felt as a little girl, when she was in her mother’s arms, just before this happiness was taken away from her. “Who am I holding in my arms? You? Me? My mother? I am constantly walking on this thread that binds us, taut but unbreakable. The life you gave me, which remains to me. A life interrupted thirty-eight years ago, another beginning today. In the middle I am. In the middle I remain.” 
From this mutation that happened not without psychoanalysis, she comes out vivified. She laughs about her past numbness, about her systematic self-sabotage, all the way to the theatre. She regained her share of life and experiences it in her body. “The curtain is going to rise. My body is elated at last. I feel it all alive… I open my mouth, I propel my voice, I make myself heard.” 
Translated by Peggy Papada
Reread by Alejandro Sessa
Photography: ©Dominique Sonnet – https://www.dominiquesonnet.be/
 Biasini Sarah, Le Beauté du ciel, Paris, Stock, 2021
 Ibid., p. 130.
 Ibid., p. 104.
 Ibid., p. 125.
 Ibid., p. 149.