Saturday, October 16, 2021

PAN The Great God’s Modern Return by Paul Robichaud


The Great God’s Modern Return by Paul Robichaud takes in consideration in a book appeared in september by Reaktion, a divinity, at the moment pretty popular, considering the Covid-19 pandemic: the God Pan who inspired the term panic for describing the sentiment felt by people who met along their way this divinity, half human and half goat.

Pan has been, during the centuries, much more: someone reassuring, or a real devil, a prince of the abysses, or he protector of forests: of course he is also seen as guardian of wild animals because in de facts Pan was this one in greek mythology.

Pan is a creature who has always refused a tranquil existence, cultivating his freedom and wild spirit.

But...What does Pan means in greek language? It is a verb: "to pasture" for the characteristic of this God. 

The cult of Pan like also poems connected with him, spread pretty fastly in a country like Greece plenty of pastures because of goats and sheep: devotion for this God was very felt in Greece.

But..Who was the father of Pan? 


Hermes fell in love for a girl and has had Pan. 

A characteristic of Pan was that once was portrayed his death but this time it didn't happen as for all the other greek Gods or the same Jesus, who resuscitated the third day: in this case, Pan is simply dead.

In the Middle Age, but also before, when Costantine defined the Christianity the main religion, the cult of Pan disappeared: in the middle age Pan was seen like an infernal demon.

Pico della Mirandola imagined the God as a "One" and Botticelli and other painters as the Orphic Pan.

Rabelais sees in Pan the role of divine sheperds.

Beaumont and Fletcher read the God as guardian of both Christian virtue and English liberty.

Francis Bacon does something else: reflecting on Pan and his mature he sees the God in this duality: "the superior and inferior parts of nature", seeing in the human part of Pan the best of the intelligence and education, and in the animal side, the brutality, but also less nobles insticts of men.

If during the Enlightment there was no place for a divinity like Pan, the Romanticism gave back to him what it was lost in the past century.

Wordsworth represents him singings his pipe in Monte Zappi, Lazio. People can hears his pipe, but no one can sees him.

John Keats removed all the beast's references in Pan, upsetting some people who had read thanks to him a God too much "disembodied": Keats described him as a ‘leaven’ that provides "A touch ethereal" to the mud and muck of our physical world. 

Hunt proposed a new cult for the God Pan, writing: "‘The Great God Pan is alive again."

Wilde, dedicated to Pan a prayer, while Sydney Long produced a beautiful painting on Pan.


Operetta: when Offendach wrote Daphnis et Chloé inserted Pan in the play; Pan was also on the cover of The Echo, an American magazine.

The XX century has seen Pan in a darker way of we make a comparison with the other past centuries.

J.M.Barrie, firstly, treated Pan in The Little White Bird portraying Peter Pan as a baby, surrounded by the pipes of Pan... After all the last name of Peter was a direct inspiration of the God Pan: who was Peter if not a baby born wild as Pan? 

Arthur Machen reads the God as a horrible creature, communicating terror.

To Roscher Pan is vice-versa a nightmare demon.

Rosaleen Norton had a great veneration for Pan. She created an altar to the God and has always taken him in consideration in her art and magical practice.

Protagonists in every medium, Pan is important in this XXI century as well leaving us important messages as written at the end by the author: 

"As global temperatures increase dramatically, with wildfires and rising ocean levels, that fear can easily give way to growing panic. It is up to us whether we allow that panic to overwhelm us, or accept it as a gift from Pan and respond by taking responsibility for the well-being of our planet."

Highly recommended book.

I thank Reaktion Books for the copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Postcards The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Social Network by Lydia Pyne


The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Social Network by Lydia Pyne that will be released this next Nov 21 is an immersion in a popular, culturally colored world and in the most undiscreet first social media, as underlined by the author, of our modern times: postcards, ladies and gentlemen. 

No sure you, I am a postcards addicted and collector! Not anymore as in the past because in our country shipping costs are prohibitives, but I do sure am a member of Postcrossing and I have friends, as Maria, from Moscow, that when sends me postcards from the places she visits (she travels a lot, lucky girl) enchants me with her observations of places, cities, restaurants and views. 

Why do we send postcards? We send them mainly because we are affectionated to the sender, and we want to transmit something of special: our joy, sharing observations, some facts of the places where we are in; someone can just write a succint: 

Ciao from Venice! Love... 

No sure you, I do that all the times! being also a postcards's collector  I request the postcard to my friend tourist.

You musn't never think that the final message of a postcard is what written on the back. The cover, its "face" is extremely important, like also stamps, because messages that postcards vehicolate are the most diversified ones and thanks to stamps you also learn the cultural touch of a different country. Being creativity the motion engine of postcards, most of them will be so beauty that  we will add them all in special places of our home, for being showed by everyone, remaining in our memories forever.

A postcard is also important because as it does the Postcrossing for example, you can start to learn every little or big place in the world and it is a powerful method this one: the creation of a lot of connections in the most diversified places in the world.

The first two decades of the XX century people sent something like 200 billion of postcards.

Postcards became famous and largely used just before the First World War.

The physicality of the postcard is immediate, and mostly joyous.

What can you find in a postcard? An universe that must just be discovered!

I can tell you I received maps of several states of the USA; but also monuments, seascapes, landscapes, cartoons and much more.

The most beloved ones remains the ones of the Holidays!

There are countries like Iceland where sending postcards for Christmas means a real big big work for the post offices.

We speak of postcards sometimes leaving apart the work that there is behind every postcard sent. Rapidity of the post offices are indispensibles for a good connection.

The author writes: "Postcards have been printed, sold, mailed, and received on a scale that makes them, historically, the largest class of artifacts that humankind has ever exchanged."

Postcards are collected as I wrote before, and Lydia tells the example of his grand-father. He collected hundreds and hundreds of postcard since the beginning of the XX century to the 1920, the so-called Golden Age of Postcards.

Reading the postcards of someone, sent to someone else is like to enter in the existence of that two unkown people. You don't know them but you try to understand, where possible, their existences.

Lydia, for studying better the topic, asked to her family members of sending her the postcards received and she will accompany her observations in the book using them.

A billion postcards passed through Germany in 1903. Personally I can tell you that Germany, has kept stamps pretty cheap: Germany is one of the most important members of the Postcrossing where not the strongest partner; another way for keeping a business going on with success.

When the biggest crisis affected postcards? Again the guilty is the internet, with the advent of electronic postcards (that, anyway expires after a while) because people saved a lot of money.

The United States Post Office was in crisis in 1909 but, surprise! had a surplus of a great amount of money thanks to postcards: it is, after all, what it is doing Germany at the moment with the possibility for every person of cultivating a good hobby, remembering people also thanks to this method; vice-versa Italy is doing all the opposite; it is seriously too expensive sending many postcards from our country.

Postcards were also a powerful vehicles for sending to beloved ones other items with them. Some people for example shared also journals, with news, items, postcards and facts; these journals were sent to all the family members that lived in different States of the USA and each of them added news, postcards, pressed flowers, stickers for being seen by the other participants.

The Washington Post in an article by Frederic Haskin wrote in 1910  that "The post card business is very profitable to the Post Office."

An impressive portrait is the one of rural areas, seen as abandoned places without any right and neglected by post offices: situation changed when government understood the importance of giving coverage also at these places and so postcards became, also in these parts of the USA, where streets and roads were less excessibles, something romantic, painting a society suggestive and plenty of good values. 

In 1874 thanks to the Treaty of Bern several countries decided the legislation for sending postcards in other countries.

In the while in six decades Curt Teich & Co. produced a billion of postcards! The production in mass of postcards began!

Curt Otto Teich arrived from Europe and his family was involved in printing. It was simple to start also the production of postcards, because, natural, it was a new business.

There was also who created propaganda in the most different ways using postcards.

George Eastman, Kodak, created picture postcards. Which was the difference? In this case there is more reality, and the picture is taken for vehicoling a precise message.

The movement of suffragists used  picture postcards for spreading the message of their cause.

Picture postcards could be personalized by the sender, because they captured a moment of interest in his existence.

Postcards served also tourism, of course. In 1990 the Klein Postcard Service of Boston decided to publish a series of postcards as a protagonist their beloved and yummy! delicious lobsters. This, for intending that everyone in Boston was at home.

The Grand Tour of the last century was reason for sending postcards, letters apart and during the past century people started to travel abroad more massively than not in other periods.

An important chapter will involve the places disappeared with the time because of political reasons mainly.

The final chapter is about of a postcard when received.

Postcards remains a big instrument of communication for discovering new places, people, customs, traditions of distant and unknown land.

If you love postcards, if you collect them, if you treasure them, if you, simply love to send or receive them, this book is for you!

Highly recommended.

I thank Reaktion for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori


Sunday, October 10, 2021

La Carte Postale by Anne Berest

 La Carte Postale

by Anne Berest intrigued me immediately when Grasset sent me the e-mails with the new rentree litteraires and the possibility of reading them before their publication.

I was right: this book, one of the strongest and most important ones in France, finalist of an important prize like the Goncourt but also of many many other ones, will touch your heart closely, because written with great compassion, humanity, attention  respect.  

This story starts thanks to a postcard received by the mother of Anne, in 2003. It was with the rest of mails and it was a shocking surprise because there wasn't the name of the sender, just four names: Ephraim, Emma, Noemi and Jacques, the relatives dead in the camp of Auschwitz during the last world war. It appeared clear that, if family, friends didn't send it, maybe some old neighbors of the family of Ephrain dit it, but...Why? The mother of Anne had planned to present a dossier to a commission regarding her disappeared relatives  that months. Maybe someone didn't want? Why? 

It's an investigative book as well, this one, pretty detailed, spanning through letters, memories, postcards, pictures, of what remained of Ephraim, Emma, Noemi and Jacques. It is a complete reconstruction of a family dilaniated by racial laws and deportation but traces, magistrally well, also what happened later to Myriam, one of the daughters of Ephraim and Emma who, thanks to Ephraim saved the existence; there is also a section that will let us see who is living now in the houses  where Ephraim built his existence: these two women in fact, Anne and mother, at a certain point searched for memories, informations, objects, photographs of the family and.. written notes!

Let's start from the beginning: the first part of the book tells the story of the Rabinovitch family. They had Russian origins, but then they left Russia in 1919 for another country. The father of Ephraim asked to the children where they wanted to afford because few places were safe according to him in Europe. Ephraim choosed Riga, disgusted by the idea of spending his existence in a deserted land like Israel was.

His business was great, but at a certain point he decided to leave and this time was constricted of asking to his father some help, ending in Israel. If his father was a passionate of that land, Ephraim didn't feel any kind of enthusiasm.

He understood that, after all, the agricultural works of his parents didn't give to them a lot of money. Although the place was appreciated by his children, maybe because also the devoted attentions of their grand-parents, they decided to move to France, Ephraim's biggest dream.

Ephraim, to my point of view had a special and beautiful character: he was an optimistic, I would add, dreaming man: he couldn't understand completely the badness of the world, and spent the rest of his time, always in Paris and french countrysides thinking that, anyway, he was protected by french people and french government:  a devoted and beloved cousin told him that the air wasn't good at all, and that it was better to leave France for America. Ephraim sounded disgusted by the idea and told to Emma that he didn't want to re-start everything from the beginning. Not in the USA. During the following years they didn't receive anymore news of their jewish relatives in the eastern european countries...A worrying sign of what was going on in Europe.

Ephraim had invented a machine for the accelleration of the bakery process of the bread: the news was also reported internationally in the Daily Mail and of course french people and bakeries sounded more than interested in this new machine in grade of letting them save time.

Ephraim tried to ask for the french naturalization changing his name and last name but it didn't happen. He didn't want that the children (all very good students) had to grow up with a jewish culture: they didn't go to the sinagogue. Sure: he understood when the nazis invaded France that there would have been problems, but nothing could have let him believe that his children would have been killed: they assured him that they had to leave for working in Germany and the news sent by Noemi in her letters were reassuring. Yes, he had had a good intuition: considering that the name of Myriam wasn't in that list, because in the while Myriam married Vicente and lived in Paris (she returned that days) maybe there wasn't the necessity of adding this daughter to the list: he asked her of hiding herself. Ephraim was a special soul who, to me eliminated the badness and cruelty of this world automatically from his soul, like Jacques did, in particular if you read the extremely moving final thoughts that Anne and her mother imagined he could have thought when arrived in Auschwitz and they brought him to the shower....

I don't want to spoil what happened in the camp at Noemi and Jacques: they also met along their way Irene Nemirovsky author of Suite Francais, deported as well and Noemi was largely mentioned in a book written by another prisoner, Hautval, a doctor who cured people in a french camp; Noemi was her favorite nurse and that lady tried all her best for saving Noemi and Jacques.

It was moving the chapter, just few words, dedicated to Jacques and his ends...

Myriam in the while, returned to Paris, but she had to escape again. Vicente and her will start an existence at la Jean Giono; as told by the beloved french writer, what is there more beauty than living in a countryside? An idea embraced by people of left, creatives, Jewish, and all that people who wanted to spend a good existence at contact with nature. 

There will be problems: a menage a trois, Vicente used drugs and he won't end well  leaving Myriam with a child of 3 years and the other man with which she was also in love, Yves. With the time Myriam lost his mind, because of Alzheimer and unfortunately she completely forgot, it happens, the use of the language acquired later, french; she spoke only russian at the end of his days. 

Anne focuses the attention in the anti-semitism sentiments that sometimes appears in the most diversified places: for example her daughter once said her that a kid told her at school that he didn't like Jewish.

And Anne could not sleep that night...When once she was to school, the teacher of french asked to them of composing their Genealogic Tree. When she understood that Anne had a lot of relatives disappeared in the camp of Auschwitz, can you believe it? She treated the girl differently and she wasn't anymore her most beloved student.


Said it: Anne didn't grow up with a Jewish culture. His parents embraced the ideals of the '68s, freedom of expression in every sense! wonderful years that ones! so the values that they transmitted her were that ones: also Anne's partners hadn't to be absolutely all jewish. She didn't mind and in general her parents didn't mind. But, it will be the last one, Jewish for case as weites Anne, who invited her to dinner for the celebration of a beloved Jewish dinner and appeared clear that maybe she was trascuring too much her being Jewish. 

Beautiful and intense. Highly recommended to everyone.

I thank Grasset for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

La Cattiva Strada by Sébastien Japrisot

 Days ago I ordered several books at my book club. I was attracted by this one, a beautiful ad quick reading: La Cattiva Strada by Sébastien Japrisot.

It's the story of a young, and at first, prohibited love between a nun of 26 years and a boy of 14 years in Paris.

The two will start at first a frequentation but maybe without to understand the intensity of their love; slowly it will become more than clear to both of them what they proved and that they wanted to live their love and passion in peace; they will try all their best for doing it, imagining a society and a rural existence without complications. 

The drama will be bypassed by the certainty that they were doing the right thing and that they didn't do, after all, anything wrong; their life will change irreversibly but one thing will be more than clear: their love-story is forever. Wisely well written, the feelings of the two are portrayed with intensity clarity and purity, without any kind of sordid touch

but like the most limpid love story, in grade, with the time, to win the prejudices of people and society.


Anna Maria Polidori  

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ricochets Proches de Victimes d'Attentats: Le Grand Oubliés by Camille Emmanuelle


Proches de Victimes d'Attentats: Le Grand Oubliés by Camille Emmanuelle is a strong book. Written by a journalist and writer specialized in sex, sexuality, problematics and joys of this human sphere, Camille is also a strong, fragile woman, plenty of simplicity and completely sincere with her readers.

What happened in her existence and the one of her husband Luz, a survivor of the horrible terrorist attack in the newsroom of Charlie Hebdo in a cold day of winter, January 7 2015, is pretty shocking, detailed trip in the horror and the beginning of a never-ending calvary. 

It's also a book written for launching a signal: it's not important if you are a survivor or a relative of a survivor: a terrorist attack is forever, and the implications, sometimes physicals, sometimes emotive or both, will remain at long, or maybe forever in that broken, fractured souls.

Camille saved the existence of her husband. For sure: that day was his birthday and she cuddled him a lot more than the necessary: this accumulated time spent at home, saved Luz. 

When Camille understood what happened at Charlie Hebdo, she tried to reach the place: it wasn't simple, but after a long waiting, she met her husband. An husband who told her that he had seen a massacre: most of their friends were killed.

After that, there was a meeting in a hospital: it was necessary to speak with a psychologist. And the psy asked to Camille if she knew that she would have had repercussions. Camille could not believe it: after all, she hadn't seen anything: she didn't assist to the horror, but very soon, too soon, she experienced that, living with a survivor meant also to start of being affected by the same problematics of her companion, a common phaenomenon as she explaines with several examples of other situations.

The first months after the terrorist attack she imagines...

She imagines Luz dead, in a coffin, and then, buried: maybe because they assisted at twelve funerals: maybe because being a survivor means a lot of questions, Camille portrayed herself as the widow, as the one who assisted to the tumulation of her husband.

It was terrible and terrifying: the nightmares of the husband were scaring: the idea of renting a room in a castle, where there were fireworks, they didn't know it, was a bad idea: they panicked, because of the horror experienced.

At first it was necessary to change their house. For obvious reasons. Luz was at risk. They choose other locations, and she missed, terribly missed Paris and her old existence. Luz, in the while, sounded more tranquil. He had lost in his past existence existence, his friends, everything.

Close to the terrorist attack, she discovered to be pregnant.

It meant that when she was having the baby, the imagines she internally visualized were not the ones of a happy family: she couldn't focus anything of it: she saw terrorist attacks, she imagined ugly scenarios. While she was having her baby.

Understandably under shock, they were helped and still are, by psychologists. Just, writes Camille, when we said that we were differently involved in the Charlie Hebdo attacks, psycholigists asked them all the time: "What?" thinking at the immense shock experienced.

Her relationship with people changed: after some while,  just few people asked her how are you? But sometimes it would be good  to tell, to share, Camille writes. She does it, particularly when she has drunk some more wine than the necessary, and she is in company: she becomes pretty chatty; she understands that to her and Luz the best pill they can use for trying to reduce fear, anxiety, anguish is wine: too much wine, admits Camille, candidly.

And what about their baby? Every possible pic of guns are banned, they don't treat the topic with the kid, because they can't tolerate the vision of violence; but...They are banning something from the existence of their baby.They understand that soon or late there will be maybe questions.

Luz sometimes is not fine.

One night, first months from the shocking event, he picked up several issues of Charlie Hebdo, the one appeared after the terrorist attack: on the cover, you'll remember there was written: Tout C'est Perdonne, but he was completely disconnected with the reality close to him: a sensation that hasn't been experienced anymore by her husband.

Trips, vacations also when they went for the first time in Greece, were an adventure, because Luz wasn't fine at all.

Realistically, writes Camille, there was an existence before the terrorist attack and after the terrorist attacks and the old times won't never be back because of this constant anxiety, and hyper-vigilance. She adds that she became with the time hyper-emotive with big tragedies, also pretty distant from her: she cried, desperate, per hours when there was the Orlando terrorist attack to the disco disco; at the same time she can't understand and tolerate anymore when people complain for little things that can happen in a daily base. When you have seen the hell, all the rest of daily problematics are like  Heaven. 

An interesting chapter is dedicated at a sexual harassment Camille lived in NYC. She wasn't still married with Luz, she had another companion; they had a discussion, she left the hotel and went in a local. There, she met this guy, with which she started to talk of the more and of  the less: she didn't have any kind of intention of having a sexual intercourse with him but the day after when she woke up she understood that surely that unkown man of passage had had a sexual intercourse with her. Without doubts. She went to the hospital for the several exams; she had spoken with authorities, but they hadn't taken her in consideration; Camille didn't want to leave this episode alone, terrorized as she was by illness like HIV, shs adds that she takes pills in grade of "preventing" the illness, and also because if he had had sex with her, for sure, she didn't remember it, because drugged. So, this one had been a violence.

We are distant from the time of the MeeToo movement where more or less everyone have said their words in terms of abusea; distant from the big american sexual scandals, and women had less power. Not in France, where authorities investigated and at the end recognized that she had been a victim,

That word, victim, set free, writes Camille, herself from all the possible responsibilities. She wasn't culpable of anything: that man was!

A long chapter is dedicated to France law and rights of the so-called ricochets, and another time, Camille focus the attention on the power of humor, thinking that humor can be helpful and paradoxically good in tragic moments: Roberto Benigni in his movie La Vita è Bella tried to conquer the son with a game, a game for not let him explain what was happening; hiding what reality the world was experiencing in that exact moment; under many ways he used humor, and thanks to it the son survived, maybe less shocked than not other people who hadn't had a father like the one described in the movie by the italian beloved actor.

The questions in the mind of Camille are many and sometimes they involve her daughter as well. Questions on life, death, separation, love. 

Another great movie example is the one by Frank Capra, one of my favorite ones!!! La Vie est Belle. The history this one: George Bailey is a dreamer. He would want to travelling the world, building beautiful houses, visiting places, shaking hands with tons of people around the world; but...

Life becomes hard with him, asking sacrifices. The oldest brother marries a beauty and will move away; the old Bailey suffers of a heart attack dying, and George, ready to leave, remains in Bedford Falls, because he must fight the solitary battle against a disgusting old man, similar to Scrooge, the character invented by Charles Dickens, called Potter. Potter will be rich but he is a heartless man and he will try all his best to destroy George: at some point Bailey will think that his life counts more if dead than not alive.

Many people pray for him and his soul, beign a very good man and so God sends to Earth Clarence, an angel with the soul of a kid, still wingless: he will let show to George what his existence would have been if he wouldn't have been existed. The pharmacist became crazy because once sold some poison to a lady, instead of the proper medicine (George had noticed it: the man had lost the son and didn't understand anymore what he was doing): Clarence will let him show also the poor existence of the rest of citizens, like also the one of his wife, who worked in a library and was still unmarried! 

Camille admits that maybe she hasn't never seen angels (it's not difficult at all to see them! I hope she will! They are hidden in unknown people, in special occasions, and wherever there is a profound discomfort) but certain episodes the months before the terrorist attack let her think a lot.

Psychologists, various kind of assitance, the life of Luz and Camille turned upside down, and a tremendous impact in her existence was also the horrible decapitation of a high school teacher Samuel Paty. It was a horrible terrorist attack, and France remarked strongly its laicity.

Camille started to enter again in that spiral of horror as lived before. She drunk again too much and she felt a sensation of big desperation; 40 terrorist attacks in all Europe for religious purposes.

She starts to think that this one is a never-ending story, that nothing will return to the normality. This time was Luz who helped her, calling the psychologist. The psychologist told her that their situation is this one: Camille has like lived the traumatic moments seen by her husband at Charlie Hebdo, with her empathy and that's why now she is feeling this immense sufferance.

Written with big competence, this one is a long confession of a dark period in the existence of this couple and in the one of Camille, seen without hiding, without omitting, but putting all herself in the description of the several phases experienced by them and the state of the things at the moment.

What I can wish for this couple is to see some light after this tunnel of sufferance. Sure: it won't be simple but not impossible.

Highly recommended book.

I thank Grasset for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polifori

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Align, Expand and Calibrate! Your Stairway to Heaven A 90 days journal by Jacqueline Pirtle

 It's important to be a complete person; for several reasons: we will be more successful in the existence and everything, from work to other social aspects of our life will be more simple.

It is not possible to obtain a complete, and satisfied existence without these three words: alignment, expansion, calibration.

That's why, Jacqueline Pirtle decided to create a journal, you can pick up the 30 days journal or the extended edition, for explain these concepts clearly to everyone and for let us work in these directions:   Align, Expand and Calibrate!

Your Stairway to Heaven A 90 days journal wants to re-put in balance our selves.

Why are these three words so important and crucials in our existence?

Without alignment you won't live in company with your real you so you won't recognize who you are and what life could be out there for you.

Expansion will donate you the possibility of seeing opportunities; without calibration you can't live the high for-life energy you came here to be.

You can't just align your self: you must also proceed with the expansion and calibration because without these two voices, your self wouldn't be complete.

Doing this, you won't live anymore a distorted existence but you will be satisfied, happy, YOU! A complete youself, thanks to this powerful journal by Pirtle.

What are you still waiting: hurry! Align, Expand and Calibrate your self and be happy because after this trip you will be happy, joyous and a new person! 

As always, a very satisfying work for healing and bettering our self and our person, physically, psychologically, emotionally.

Highly recommended. The cover is wonderful and plenty of positive vibes! ❤️

I thank Jacqueline Pirtle for the copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Revenir a toi by Leonor de Recondo

The history of Apollonia was a mixture of shadows and phantoms: but, for different reasons, this one is also the tale of two lost and suffering souls: the one of a girl abandoned by her mother and the one of a lady mentally sick.

The new book by Leonor De Recondo

Revenir à Toi, published in the rentrée Litteraire by Grasset treats a thematic of big sufferance: the voluntary disappearance of a mother. I have choosen this book because some friends experienced this hell when little ones.

It happens: it happens that from a day to another a mother would leave alone her kids forever, in company of the remained shocked partner and grand-parents or uncles, and aunts, neighbors unable to give proper answers to them.

Magdalena was just 14 years when her mother left the house and an astonished husband, who had loved that woman with all himself. The parents of the husband recriminating that that girl was not the best one he could have chosen are looking in shock at Magdalena, a teenager who wanted to discover, desperately, where her mother went and why.

But no one knew it.

The sensation of a house, when a mother leaves it forever, is the one of an abandoned place an abandoned lifeless nest; there is not anymore any kind of stability, peace, harmony in the house but tensions, recriminations, fear, anger. When she left the house, Magdalena didn't just choose of leaving the house, but also her past, parents and relatives included. 

The act of removing what previously experienced was made by her pretty well, but Magdalena hasn't never forgotten Apollonia. 

One day, her agent calls Magdalena, who with the time became an actress of theater, (she prefers theater for the strong emotions that donates, for the reality, the life, existence lived in the moment without any kind of filter), telling her the news. "They have found your mother"; just these words and Magdalena leaves everything for Bretagne for trying to see what kind of existence built her mother in their absence: her soul is plenty of questions and stress.

The arrival is pretty shocking. Magdalena won't find a person in good health, Apollonia is 80 years at the moment: the conditions of the house are very poor. She decides that she will stay, she will cook, she will clean the house, she will restore dignity to that lost soul of Apollonia: although the silences of her mother, she will discover what it is necessary to discover, thanks to old journals and a picture. Magdalena understands now which was the germ that caused the sufferance of her mother.  

In the while there is also a pretty spicey love-story with a boy much more young than her, met in a Decathlon; she will live beautiful and sensuals adventures with him.

The book opens several emotional windows: the past with its questions, Magdalena, still teenager and desperate, the reconstruction of what it was the departure of her mother with the consequent feelings, and sensation of loss; the present, with the trip to Bretagne and then the daily activities of Magdalena: the spicey adventure lived with the boy of the store; her mother, her past, her disconnected present, her play Antigone.

An intense, emotional, beautiful book!

Highly recommended.

I thank Chez Grasset for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori