Il Quaderno dei Nomi Perduti, The Address Book of Lost Names by Sofia Lundberg first book of this author translated by Licia Vighi is an enchanting novel and I am sure you will love it, if for you, memories, objects, life, past, are important. Published by Dea Planeta an italian publishing house, the book is so moving that I suggest you of keeping close to you a box of Kleenex when you'll read it.
The story the one of Doris, an elderly lady of 96 years living in Stockholm. Doris's flashbacks are the base of this book. Doris old and "trapped" in the body of the elderly woman she became, close to the end of her human existence.
Her present is made by sufferance, a lot of pains because her bones are becoming everyday more weak. The lady doesn't neglect the use of the net and everyday she talks via Skype with Jenny the daughter of her sister, treated and followed as if she would have been her daughter.
Not only: Doris doesn't want to bring in her grave any secrets and so she writes some memories for Jenny for being read when she is dead. These memories explains her past life, her errors, restoring all her past and important people and facts in her life.
Doris was born in a common family. Once, her dad presented her a red address book.
"It will be important. You can keep here the most important people of your life."
The people of her existence, with their addresses, phone numbers, memories and their importance in her life.
Doris did it, marking, each time a person in her life passed away, the name with a line and the word: dead.
Looking at that red address book, what a desolation, thought Doris.
All her friends, relatives are dead. She is alone in the world, and just with a person still interested to her: Jenny in San Francisco, with a husband, three children and a busy life.
One day Doris falls and ends up to the hospital.
But who was Doris?
When her dad died, she remained with her mother but not at long. Being the oldest one, her mother found for her a place as waitress at the house of a certain Madame, a lady of great class. There, Doris will meet some of her best life's friends: Gosta, a painter and creative so different from the rest of Madame's friends, just interested to assault her. Doris established a great friendship with this man interested to conquer men.
Madame decided to change location and the two left for Paris. The chaotic life spent by Madame brought at the end at the "cession" of Doris at someone involved in the world of fashion. It was the beginning of her modelling for the best brands of Paris. The years spent with Nora.
The sad departure of her mother meant to Doris growing up her sister Agnes. At first Doris would have wanted to give her all the best, what she hadn't had. A proper education, good schools, wagons of books, after all her world was frivolous enough, but the arrival of the latest world war conflict constricted the two women with a financial income less happy than the one of the past at another change.
Doris in the past fell in love for a young man and in the while received a letter from him with some money for starting a life with her in the USA. Thrilled, she went to the USA with the sister. Great expectations, she will find a completely different reality...
Avoiding to tell you all, let's say that at some point Doris will return to Europe in a painful, disgusting way, and later she will rediscover again her painter friend with which she would have lived at long in Stockholm.
It's a novel of a terminal life, of dreams to realize, of life mixed with death, of memories, life that perpetuates itself, of an important love never forgotten, of children, mainly unwanted ones, addiction, love, friendship, help, with new stories to tell, new pages still white to be written. The ones of Jenny&Family.
If you have close to you old parents the phrase they will tell you often is: "I will die soon. I don't have a lot of time anymore." And in this book you will find this phrase pronounced a lot by Doris discovering also all the powerful meaning of life.
Doris with her irony thinks that dying after all will be a great adventure.
What can Doris would wish for your life?
"Enough sun for brightening your days, enough rain for appreciating the sun, enough joy for fortifying your soul, enough pain for appreciating the small moments of happiness in life. Enough friends for being in grade to say good-bye."
This book remarks the power of love, of that love in grade to resist at the time, decades, and life itself. That love that let say: "You are beautiful" also when you know that you are dying but the eyes of your old partner can still look at you with the old, tender love experienced when you were a teen-ager, at that love that will let you think: "If..." because you know that the other one was the person with which you would have wanted to spend your life and you have not because of destiny.
I thank so much Dea Planeta for this book.
Anna Maria Polidori