When it comes to books and literature I find myself very patriotic, this is why, when I received a proof copy of La vita felice by Elena Varvello I felt so happy that I left behind the other books that I was reading and I focused just on this one.
Two Roads is about to publish in the UK a noir that reminded me of the great Italian literature. I’m not talking about Elena Ferrante – that yes, will one day be studied at school and universities. I’m thinking about the atmosphere that I found in the thrillers by Niccolò Ammaniti – specifically in I’m not scared, where the protagonist is a young boy, as in this novel – mixed with the images that someone like Bassani can create with such accuracy that the reader finds himself almost in front of a painting.
The plot is set in a small town in Italy and Elia, the protagonist feels the boredom that just the teenage years can give to someone. Everything flows slowly – almost like in The Graduate by Charles Webb – and everything seems to be fine, until Elia’s dad loses his job, and everything changes.
The pages that contains Elia’s story start to be interlaced with the story of the father. What does he do when he’s not at home? Why does he became, all of the sudden so brusque with him? What is he hiding?
A crescendo of emotions not just in the protagonists life, but also in the reader that wants to find out what happened, why did everything changed. What is really going on?
La vita felice is a story told from the point of view of Elia that thirty years after everything happened tries to go back, step by step, to the summer when he felt in love for the first time, but also the summer when his dad did something dramatic.
I can’t even tell you how excited I am to see the finished translation of this book so I can finally be able to talk about it with customer and colleagues, and yes, also because I can start to obsess them with another great Italian novel.
It’s raining again, even if I saw the moon not more than half an hour ago.
It stated again, out of the blue. Out of the navy blue of the sky.
This autumn doesn’t want to leave us and maybe it’s the same autumn that doesn’t want to leave our souls, our shoulders, our eyes.
I see that you are sad, the same sadness that I felt one month ago. Maybe it’s not the same, but I want to think that we are somehow similar, that we feel the same feelings, that we get sad for the same reasons.
Maybe, as I was, I just want you to be sad because of the irony of life, because two people meet out of the blue, after they took decisions that involved other people, and their souls somehow recognise each other, but their minds can’t accept that all the thoughts, all the time, all the feelings spent until then have to be erased. And you can’t erase life, you can’t erase a story, you can’t erase memories.
They tell you that one day you’ll find the better half and that everything will finally fall in place in the easiest way. But what if the wires that connect our lives get tangled and we end up meeting that better half after a journey that brought other human lives? What if you need to chose between loving somebody that you didn’t know was coming and hurting somebody else that you loved for such a long time? What if different journeys collide and instead of creating a beautiful sky of shooting stars you damage something in which you believed with all of your being?
I can’t go to bed, I wont sleep, I would, instead, think of you, I would dream, with my eyes closed but my mind awake, to hug you, to squeeze you in the tightest hug. We’d be there, in each other arms, the time would stop and all our questions would be answered.
A couple of weeks ago, passing by a small patch of grass and daises, I saw some dandelions and I thought to make a wish, a wish that if will ever become reality would make me very happy, but somebody else very sad. That day I decided to feel sad, keep my wish for my self, don’t try in every way to make it become true, suffer inside until that hope to have something special would disappear.
I spent two confusing and sad weeks where I didn’t know what I wanted, I didn’t know how to act for the sake of somebody that I don’t even know.
Today, coming back from work, I passed by that small patch of grass, all the dandelions in that patch turned around to stare at me, and while I was listening to a song of love and desire, hope and dream, I decided to stop for a moment, pick up one of those dandelions and after thinking deeply about the best way to express my desire I blown on it.
For once in my life I decided to be selfish and think about my happiness before somebody else’s, for once in my life I decided to give up on my past sadness, on my fear for the “what if”, for once in my life I decided that the “What If” might be something incredible good and that I want to chase that dream and that hope and it doesn’t matter if in the end I’ll turn up with another plaster on my heart, the important thing is that even for a single moment of my life I thought that this thing can be possible, and right now I absolutely do.
I can’t lie, every time I end up watching Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen I want to jump back in time, and join the crew of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. This is why, last summer I gave my self a little present: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein and A moveable feast by Ernest Hemingway, two autobiography of two of the greatest author of the early 20th century.