Books and writers have always fascinated me since I was a child, as soon as I could  read and write. These days I'm experiencing a full immersion of meetings with writers and discussions  of  books which makes me proud and happy.  The atmosphere is rather familiar and intimate, the location stunning and the people I met interesting or even inspiring. Nothing of the speculation over literature, culture and publishing we see in other literary festivals. 

Fieramente il libro is an event at its second edition in my home town, among the organizers two dear friends of mine, whom I must thank for the energy and the enthusiasm they put in everything they do  and, of course, for inviting me to be part of the event as a member of the reading jury. I've read the 3  books finalists in the Narrative section and tomorrow I'll have to choose the one I liked best.

Yesterday TrainDogs and Fabio Palombo gave start to a weekend of special encounters: beautiful words and awesome music in a show called, Abracadabra. Fabio Palombo read his stories of men and women in little less than 11 lines, which he used to post on facebook at firsr. They are an extraordinary example of how words can do magic. 

TrainDogs - Abracadabra
The reading of those amazing little gems was accompanied by two brilliant musicians (both guitarists and singers), Alessandra Parisi e Piergiorgio Faraglia. 
The (very) short stories have been now collected into a book, TrainDogs, which has soon become a publishing sensation after being at first a facebook project based on the notes of a daily commuter, Fabio Palombo himself. 

From the preface: "This book can't be read like all the others. This book is to be opened random to read one story. Then you close the book again and re-open it at another page and read another one. Because they are all the same length, all 11 lines minus something. And they are all stories of men and women, of what they are or they are not. Of what life, or chance, brought them to be. That is why this book must be opened random. Because it is a bit like life itself."

I loved the songs, I loved the stories but especially Alessandra Parisi's voice, which  was outstanding. 

Fabio Stassi and Maria Vittoria Lollobrigida
Today I particularly enjoyed meeting two authors, Romana Petri, who presented her latest novel "Giorni di spasimato amore",  and Fabio Stassi who read from and discussed "Come un respiro interrotto", his latest novel, which happens to be also the book I am reading these days. Of course, I was excited to meet him, above all because I find this book exceptionally touching and extremely well written. It was no surprise to discover that its author too is quite remarkable:  humble, entertaining, sensitive and totally astonished at the interest people show for what he writes. At the end of the meeting, encouraged by his friendly, easy-going attitude, I approached him and told him I was half-way through his beautiful novel and I couldn't wait to finish it. He almost apologized saying: "Oh... you'll see...It's such a sad story" 
So I reassured him saying in total honesty that I'm fond of beautiful sad stories, I love being moved to tears by beautifully written pages, especially sad ones. That is  why he probably decided to write a very personal dedication on the first page of my copy which was just perfect. I'll treasure it.

Come un respiro interrotto is such a complex narration which makes it quite impossible to tell you thoroughly what it is about. It is a choral narration, with numerous voices and many points of view. It is the story a woman, Soledad, Sole, an extraordinary singer and a fascinating woman, told by so many different characters who knew/met her and who contribute details to her portrayal. "All those who heard her singing said they felt as if they had stepped into the void".
But it is also the story of Matteo, a musician, in love with Sole, and one of her best friends. Music, nostalgia, melancholy, Italy's recent history, the shattered dreams of my own generation are among the themes I mostly appreciated in this book, together with its layout, the complex net of threads which interwining form a captivating picture. 

If Come un respiro interrotto is my current reading, Romana Petri's "Giorni di spasimato amore" is in my TBR list. I must discover more about the protagonist,  Antonio,  and his incredibly moving story, after listening to the interesting analysis the author herself proposed today. Bought my copy, got  Ms Petri's dedication,  positioned the book on my night-stand.

Tomorrow I'll be sitting with the jury who will choose the novel that wins this year's prize in the narrative section, but there will be other prizes too and other interesting meetings.
The books I had to read as a member of the jury are: Lorenzo Amurri's Apnea, Antonella Lattanzi's Prima che tu mi tradisca, Alessio Torino, Urbino, Nebraska. I can't tell you much about them, so they asked me. I am not to reveal my preferences, not until tomorrow afternoon, so it is better to avoid writing more.  Quite exciting, isn't it?

I only mentioned some of the events in the schedule. Sorry if you expected more because I didn't mean to write a  detailed, full  report of the festival. If you can read Italian, you'll find lots of info on the official site or on  Fieramente il libro on facebook. If you cannot, I'm afraid you'll have to be satisfied with what I've written so far. Time to go to bed! Off to some rest, after such an intense day. Tomorrow, more writers to meet, more words to listen to, more emotions to live. And, by the way, a suitcase to pack! For my next journey. Bound to London, once again.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Loved to read your report. It must have been a great event.