giovedì, gennaio 31, 2019

Dorian Grori and that special world that is ballet

Dorian Grori is
an Albanian ballet dancer. From decades in our country, yesterday we largely talked of his personal story. His character, what he thinks of ballet, art and solutions for trying to see the light after this long and depressing tunnel of darkness experienced by the sector these past decades. This interview will reveal also the proud father that he is.





Delicate voice the one of Dorian, with a touch of resoluteness, do we want to start from your name?

"It's realistically my real name this one, Dorian, but yes, I admit, because of The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. My aunt was reading that book while I was arriving in this world, and she spread her enthusiasm and winning choice with the rest of our family."

When did you start to fall fascinated by ballet?

"It was a case. I was 9 year and half and I was playing with success violin from more than 4 years when, one day, I was noticed by a coreographer, at that time the only one existing in Albania.  I didn't dance ballet, I loved to dance and considering that in our corner of the
world weddings and other feasts are occasions for grown-ups and children for dancing, I just did it. I enjoyed to entertain people with my dancing.
My father was conquered and proud by this idea and so I did the entrance examination at the Academic Ballet School of Tirana. Being a public school, parents didn't pay, but there was a big selection, and that year just eight of us were accepted at the course. It's a good way, this one, because talents emerge with more simplicity."

Can you explain us what is dancing?

"It's discipline, first of all and it is demandig. In every sense.
We don't just search for the dancing side in a potential ballet dancer but also for his/her behavior. I visit many schools during the year and sometimes there are talents. Parents are skeptical to let spread the wings of their children away, in a place distant from their houses, but when there is talent they must permit it.
Ballet is opened to everyone because each of us should and must dance.
A person, just interested to practice ballet at an amatorial level, will anyway develop his/her big cultural level of knowledge. He/she will appreciate theathers, he/she will be a person plenty of grace."

Why did you choose at the end of school and after a year of work at the Theater of the Opera of Tirana, to afford to Italy?

"Italy to me was synonime of art.
I still have this idea but rapidly I noticed that with the arrival of poverty a lot of theaters closed, like many companies, dancers unemployed are constricted to leave Italy for other countries, Germany, France, America, Russia, if they want to continue to dance.
Plus: I don't see a great interest in art in general in these newest generations. We went once in a tournee of a week to Moscow and theater was plenty but what pleasantly shocked me the most, what astonished me was to see that the theater was plenty of very young and interested people about ballet. It says a lot."

According to you how can we all change this sad course of the events?

"To my point of view schools and teachers should give the example. I don't want to say that visiting a garden, or bringing children outside wouldn't be important, but, children should visit theaters, starting to appreciate ballet, classic music, a play, and all the rest of art. In this way some of them will fall in love for art."

In opposite case, if they don't know it, they won't love it. This is true.
Kids. In Italy this one an art populated mainly by female kids in schools. 

"I know and I don't agree with that parents that don't want to develop the artistic dancing side of their male kids because of their fears. There is no reason.
I am married, I have two children and I remember also the joys of sharing with my female dancers's collegues some moments of relaxation together when at the Academy of Tirana.
In Albania is an honor to be a ballet dancer. Trust me: if a male kid develops some behaviors considered by parents effeminate, it doesn't depend from dance, it's his attitude and he would develop it also if he would does another completely different hobby or sport. I can tell you this, because realistically dancers must be very viril men, men who must transmit sensuality, feelings, emotions.
Plus, let's speak of it: they must have a lot of energy and strenght. No one focuses on this aspect, but it is crucial for a male ballet dancer. He must be strong  He jumps, lifts a dancer many times during a show.  He must have a great physicity. The one of the dancer is a daily constant work: six hours per day. It's not a joke.
You won't never notice any kind of tiredness while you see us in public. Apparently the execution of every gesture is natural, simple like drinking a glass of water. Vomit, pains, sufferances are all for the backstage and our private sphere.
Dance adds soul and feeling and one of the main dues for a dancers is to transmit emotions to the public. Dancers must be in grade to enter, when on stage, in that special, own world, for being empathic."

Dorian remembers the years of his studies in the capital of Albania,Tirana.

"I studied there for eight years. The Academy was incredibly hard but every time I returned home I haven't never complained once with my parents. Sometimes I was surprised when my teachers didn't remark something and the lesson passed without reprimends. I knew that I was learning. I also remember that sometimes my teacher touched more or less violently my leg if not satisfied of the extension I was offering. I haven't never complained. These old methods are gone, but...It's something that parents should learn. They should give trust to teachers. When doors are closed children, students are "property" of the teacher and they must trust him/her. It's important. As a ballet teacher I tell you that I I give respect, I pretend respect and I hate disorder. I still am in love with my teachers, the ones of Tirana and the ones I met in Reggio-Emilia, Liliana Cosi and Marinel Stefanescu, because it's thanks to them if I reached my goals and I became who I am."

Let's speak of your two wonderful children.

"I married Greta Lanzi, a girl from Emilia-Romagna. Leonardo and Ludovica. Leonardo is 9 years and Ludovica 6.
To me the creation of a family was very important. I grew up in a wonderful environment, with a beautiful family and this desire started to increase pretty soon in my existence. I settled down at 28 years."

Will your children follow your same career?

"I have some expectations about Ludovica. Leonardo is in love for soccer, and guess what? Leonardo one day said me: I want to do a complete different job, from you, daddy.  I was surprised that he said me that, considering that he was still very  little.
He plays soccer and he is happy. I am happy and I don't want to force them, they must do what they love the most, developing their talents.
Sure, we live in a reality pretty complicated populated by social medias, virtual life and sometimes I think that it is too much."

Do your children have a smart phone?

"No. I give them all the best in terms of education but no, not smart phones."

You are a teacher of the Nuovo Balletto Classico in Reggio Emilia with
Nicoletta Stefanescu, Elena Casolari and Rezart Stafa. The previous owners Liliana Cosi and Marinel Stefanescu. What kind of teacher are you?

When I start a lesson I must first of all look all my students in the eyes. I must try to see if they are not OK, if they have some problems. A teacher must be first of all a psychologist because each of them have a different key for opening the soul.

You were a coreographer, true?

At the moment I am a dancer and a ballet dancer teacher. Maybe once, when I will want to experiment something else. It's necessary to have special talents for being coreographers and ballet dancer teachers. Not everyone is in grade to do that.

And that violin you left apart?

Oh, I caress my old violin everytime I go to Belluno where my parents live. Who knows, maybe someday I can re-start to play it. The violin is the musical intrument I prefer the most and if one day I will decide to launch myself in the coreography, it would play a large part, for sure. 


Anna Maria Polidori


















lunedì, gennaio 28, 2019

La Donna del Ritratto or The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton


I love Kate Morton's books. Every book I read  of this author is an experience. Morton in fact at different levels, mainly emotional, is in grade to bring on surface incredible stories; her characters are waiting for you, for being adored, disliked, hated, immensely loved.
"Fluid" author, past, present are interconnected; reality becomes  a continuous of stories, dramas, discoveries.
The message of Kate Morton is that existences are united by a light, but strong, invisible wire; there is not a real disconnection between past and present, but sometimes, past, more powerful because written, said and experienced, whispers again with objects, pictures, books, old houses, with a strength and fluidity that no one can arrest.

La Donna del Ritratto, The Clockmaker's Daughter in english tells a lot of story. Let's start with the one of Elodie.

Elodie is a girl working in London at the Stratton-Cardwell archive. She is an archivist more connected with the past than not our times.

Stratton was a philanthropist; he spent his life helping people in need and making the difference for  their existence; he lived in the Victorian age.
One day a box left apart from decades and not yet put in order was taken in custody by Elodie.
Inside there was a superb shoulder belt, a notebook with some drawings, a silver frame with the portrait of a beauty girl. What shocked the most Elodie was that, opening the notebook of drawings she recognized immediately the house in that notebook. Possible? Her mother told her of that fairy-land sometimes. Of that house.

Elodie, closes to her marriage, stops by at the house of her dad asking for explanations. Her dad lives his existence in the past, remembering the beauty and talent of Mrs.Adler, as he loves to call her. He was a musician but Adler, a virtuoso of the cello, and she was acclaimed by everyone as the most wonderful musician of the time. Elodie was very little when her mother lost her existence in a terrible car incident with a violinist while she was returning home; she doesn't have special memories of her, apart this story she loved to tell her.
At first she agreed with her future husband Alaistar to add some of her mother's videos at their wedding's ceremony, although, later, she will change idea.

Edward Radcliffe is an impetuous, young painter. He is a wonderful promise in the sector; he is in his 20 in the 1860s, when he meets along his way Lily. This one is not the real name of this girl; Birdie was born in a normal family, but the death of her mother meant for her beloved dad a complete perdition. Her dad fixed clocks and he tried to invent a magnificent new clock, when the disgrace of the disappearance of her wife fell upon them in all its dramatic consequences.

Birdie, thanks to a common "family friend" let's use this expression, he was the opposite, will be taken in custody by Mrs Mack and her family. This family gave hospitality, previous payment of a certain amount of money to abandoned children. Sure, the life in that house is different; the second life of Birdie.
Birdie will learn pretty soon how to steal money with, also lucrative, and original inventions.
The meeting with Radcliffe is incredibly romantic.
Birdie understands that her life would have changed.
After that the first painting is realized, called Belle, and sold immediately, at the vernissage, the girl understands anyway the difference of environment and people with which she is invited to share her evening with escaping away, terrorized by herself, the environment where she grew up in and judges of all that rich people.
A vicious friend by Edward will try all his best, for buying some sex with her but without any success.
Edward becomes obsessed by Lily, and although officially he is in love with Fanny, he understands that his life is changing: he wants Birdie. Forever. And they will go away, starting a new existence together.

Birchwood Manor is a house lost in the rural British romantic countryside that the young painter Edward decides at a certain point of buying. His buen retiro, this house has a magical and special meaning to him as he shares once with his sister Lucy.
It happened something when he was little, because Edward loves stories of phantoms and magical creatures and that special place, with a romantic and little church and cemetery close to it, is magical, because saved him.

Metaphorically, Birchwood Manor's magical light is that candle, that light that we should always see for going on well in our life also during the obscurity of the night and the perdition of life. The house in itself represents the existence in all it's magic and tragicity.

Lucy, the sister of Edward is much more small than him and an avid reader of all possible genres. Because of the messes she committed, she won't never fall in love for anyone.

Elodie understands with great clarity, we are back in our times, that Tip her uncle, not only lived in the house painted in the notebook she discovered in her office, but that he also knows the name of the girl in the silver frame.

There are chapters dedicated to Juliet the mother of Tip, and Tip when little and his two siblings, when they stayed in Birchwood Manor. Juliet was a journalist and one day Tip donates to Elodie the articles written during the war.
Elodie discovers more about the girl in the silver frame thanks to a piece written by Juliet and thanks to a letter signed B.B. discovered hidden somewhere else.

Joe the Pale Boy is a new friend of Birdie. One day she run away from a police man on the roofs of London for avoiding to be captured. She enters in the bedroom of this still very young, astonished boy from his bedroom's window. At that time Joe the Pale Boy was sick, and without a lot of appetite, so he invited the girl at eating some of the food they brought him. Food from the Mayfair, he specified, a place Birdie knew but that to her was just a dream because an exclusive place for very rich people.
From there, the two became very good friends per years, because Joe the Pale Boy wanted to receive visits from her and loved Birdie's world although so different from his one; Birdie was more than welcomed in the unhappy existence of this boy who, apparently had to be more happy than he was.
Joe would have become so beautiful and elegant, tells Birdie and Joe would have guided Birdie to his immense house, donating her, sometimes  precious pieces and little objects that his dad bought somewhere in his many trips in the world for being re-sold by Birdie later.
Joe didn't love richness in that sense: accumulation. A different philosophy of life if compared to the one of his dad...
Then, one day, Birdie told him that she fell in love for Edward, the painter. Joe also would have told her that he fell in love for a girl... Their contacts lost after the events of 1862.

Jack is a troubled but beauty man at Birchwood Manor in our times for a story of money and something precious to discover. He tries with all himself to sort out some old problems with his ex partner. He is a solitary man connected with the world thanks to pictures, smartphone and his notebook. Oh: and the phantom of Birchwood Manor. But, this story is clear, isn't it? He will meet Elodie at some point...

Leonard lived his youth at the beginning of the XX century.
He studied at Oxford attracted by Futurists. His brother Tom decided to join the army on 1914 and so they both became soldiers. What it makes sense before a war, is completely senseless after a war, because of the horrors a soldier or a person sees, departures, death, destruction. Because people change.
And if there was a great excitement and joy in the post-war, Leonard could not feel it, remaining anchored in the past. He lost Tom, his beloved brother, with which he was so united; he had lost one of the main reasons for going on. Then, one day, he discovered Edward Radcliffe and his paintings and he decided to visit Birchwood Manor, writing down a book about this unlucky painter, gone too soon in every sense. His story is precious. I found extremely tender and touching the part when Leonard  returned to the house of his parents after a moment of perdition; he went out one day and he didn't return per a lot of time. He just "walked" he said to his mother once back home; his mother cleaned this grown-up son as if he would have been little. Tom was gone but Leonard still with her. They both cried for the same, big pain and reason.

I start to tell you that the characters I loved the most were the one of Edward Radcliffe, the painter, because he is like a wild wind and I love wild, romantic winds, the one of Joe the Pale Boy, because he is a wonderful person, and I loved how he interacted with that police man when Lily found refugees in his bedroom in that way. Incredible.

I love so badly the character of Elodie and the one of Tip, because he communicates with special entities.

I love the one of Birdie/Lily and for once I didn't find completely disgusting the troublemaker of all this story although the resolution of the case left me a great sadness and again contradictory feelings caused cages, prisons and graves for people.
As the reader will see it was a series of unfortunate events that brought at the sad conclusions of this story including a strong jealousy.

Houses are frequently the best places in grade to whisper the past in particular when they are old and when a lot of facts, energies, love, hate, friendship, life has been "lived" there.

It will be impossible for you to leave Birchwood Manor, after this book...


Highly recommended.

I warmly thank the Italian Sperling&Kupfer/Mondadori for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, gennaio 26, 2019

In Blossom by Cheon Yooju

In Blossom by Cheon Yooju published by Lincoln Children's books is a wonderful, tender story about the power of friendship, love, and...spring.
It's a day like another one when a female cat decides to go to the park bringing with her something to eat. You know: cats are famous for eating and sleeping. These ones are their most famous characteristics. Sun was shining, the day was tender.
The cat sat all alone lost on her thoughts on that bench, eating some bites of the food she brought from home when at a certain point, with great calm, a very interesting male dog, someone of culture, apparently had the same idea: going out from his house for a little bit, because of the beautiful day, for reading on a bench. A good and pleasant luxury.
At first the two are a bit surprised to find another one sat on the bench, but, at the same time they are curious; the dog at a certain point tries to "spying" what the female cat does, helped by the impression that he was reading. The female cat at the same time time thinks that the reading dog is interesting and it would be nice to start a conversation with him but...How to start a conversation, where possible?
Spring will be of great great help, removing all barriers. They will soon become good friends. The female cat, in fact, with a happy intuition will offer at the dog her food and it will be the beginning of a great friendship.

It's a tender, delicate children's book this one who wants to stimulate parents and children at a good and profound renewal, stimulating acceptance, differences of visions and hobbies; it's a children's book this one that want to let us understand that we can all be friends.

I thank NetGalley for the digital copy of this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, gennaio 23, 2019

The Witch A History of Fear from Ancient Times to the Present by Ronald Hutton

Who is a Witch? What kind of role played in a community, a little society or a the social tissue? In which way fairies enter in this world of witches, curses, spells and vice versa; which were and are prayers practiced by shamans or other people with a solid devotion for trying to break a curse launched by a witch?

But first of all: witches exist?

Witches represent a big universe, as explains in this new essay by Ronald Hutton The Witch A History of Fear from Ancient Times to the Present and diversified is their role in the social tissue where they operated.

I didn't know that, but witches, for what told in the book, can be of both sexes, but mainly, the representation given by literature and folklore is the one of a woman.
What kind of woman?

The perfect portrait of a witch? The one who lived in a community, and  here and there cursed various known people.
A witch in fact is not like a vampire or another demoniac creature, who for case could meet a person along the road, harming him/her. No: a witch knows the person and wants all the bad for that person.
A witch can be Lilith; in this case we see the powerful lascivious part of the witch; Jewish thought that Lilith was the first woman of this world and from there, all disgraces would have happened to the humanity.

This book considers witches of all the world and we will see that certain places think that a witch is someone who tries to damage the social tissue of a place; other ones, that she is a snake acting inside a family; other ones again classify nudity, incest or other important voices as an act of witchery.

Someone else think that witches use special potions for cursing people; other ones think that they are born with special characteristics and ability of cursing people, and other cultures that they have special magical elements inside them in grade of permitting them of staying connected with the superior and devilsh sphere of the universe.

Instruments and tools for trying to fight against them? The most drastic ones.
In certain areas of the world, once killed, potential witches were cut in pieces; in other countries they were  burned, so that all possible curses were broken.
In Europe there was a massive fight against witches; a potential beautiful or ugly person could become someone indicated as a witch.

With the time, populations of various countries, according to their own customs created resistance againt witches and their terrible power.

A witch substantially is a creature in grade to harm another person or more, creating a lot of sufferance.

In general she is human; she is not from another world. A vampire, a zombie, a ghost, are in this sense other kind of creatures and they scare everyone with their being not-human, or maybe having being humans but not anymore, or, as a vampire, living just an apparent fake, cursed existence-non existence.

The witch in all her humanity was born with certain characteristics.

Egyptian believed at dangerous entities, while Mesopotamians gave  importance to demons and they were less relaxed if compared to the approach of Egyptians. Greeks and Romans believed in the power of witches and in this context operates the shaman or the healer, the one in grade, in various different ways of removing the curse from a person.

The shamanic experience must be beautiful I think: and it is typical of the Native Americans. The shaman enters in tranche and in contact with various entities.
Prayers, special rituals started to be practiced everywhere: the physical elimination of the potential witch would have brought back peace in a community, in a town or whoever the witch operated.

This terrible fight against witches contaminated also the New World; in  Salem Massachusetts, there was the suppression of several women considered witches.

The Goddess taken more in adoration by witches in our countries was first of all Diana, because the protector of the environment, wild animals, and nature in general, followed by other ones as well. Hate against this goddess spread in all Europe with destruction of statues etc.
Jesus was not interested in magic, but Christianity took a position once the religion was solidly installed in Europe with severe punishments if a person was recognized to be a witch.

A special section is dedicated to fairies and witches.
They're two different worlds; fairies are fallen angels, for a reason or another they were angels who lost the possibility of staying close to God, as we know it; there is a super-naturalism and a magic that it is proper of the fairy. A fairy lives in a house, close to stones or other natural places, like rivers, hills; nature in a word. Per extension a fairy could also be represented by a beautiful girl who sings in the night, stealing the heart and mind of a man for then return to her own world, capturing him. A fairy in this case is the representation that for the sea is a mermaid.

Also when apparently a fairy lives peacefully in a house with her man and children, with all the possible magical instruments that could prevent her to return to her dimension, locked somewhere, she will find a way as some Nordic fairy-tales teach us.

Some people under trial for witchery told in the past told that they spent various days with fairies, and they learned the art of witchery by them, including a certain Margaret Fulton. Accused of having killed a lot of people the woman declared that "Her husband brought her back from the fairies."
Of course this one could have been a good excuse for trying to sort out a big problem like the one of a murder or more, and it was also a pretty interesting strategy, understandable. Anyway,  all these people, the ones taken in consideration in these examples by the author were all recognized guilt of satanic witchcraft and condemned to death.

Witches have another power: they become animals. The most diversified ones although they prefer little animals, like mouses, cats, hedgehogs, and also every kind of insect and bird and this characteristic of the witch is more or less accepted in the entire world.

Personally I have been seriously scared by the idea of witches, because where I was born in people were serious witches-believers and my parents told me all the time of not stayig outside too much; witches love night and they could capture children. An aunt assured she had heard one day witches because she had heard clapping hands, and women laughing. Of course it could have been the echoes of other women washing clothes on a distant river.

Sure there is a magical dimension, lost now because we are too absorbed by PCS, smartphones, technological devices in grade of distract our souls. But that pregnant part of the Universe, that universe that would want to speak at us of the magic that there is in the world, is still alive.

And exists, to my point of view, the possibility for common people of wanting the best or the worst for other people and this desire becomes an energy and this energy is an act of real witchery.

An American expression tells: "Be careful what you wish for..."

The cover is beauty.

Highly recommended.

I thank Yale University Press for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, gennaio 22, 2019

Tre Passi nel Genio Fellini tra Fumetto, Circo e Varietà Three Steps Into the Genius Fellini among Cartoon, Circus and Variety by Ottavio Ciro Zanetti Foreword by Nicola Piovani

A semi-creative state of trance the one experienced for all his life by Federico Fellini. It is sure of it Paolo Villaggio when in an interview published in the book written by Ottavio Ciro Zanetti Tre Passi nel Genio Fellini tra Fumetto, Circo e Varietà Three Steps Into the Genius Fellini  among Cartoon, Circus and Variety Foreword by Nicola Piovani, introduces to the reader the biggest, most incredible and visionary director that the italian cinema has ever had.

This genius of creativity was also a sensitive person, someone in grade to "see" the unknown; he had constantly visions of people, creatures; they were there for him for searching for someone in grade to give them that corporeality that in opposite case they wouldn't never had;  waiting for him and for his numerous sketches and cartoons, strips where, at first they would have had visibility; and later on the big screen.
Fellini in fact was born as a cartoonist when he left his city for Rome, starting to be introduced soon at people like Steno, Zavattini and other big names of the environment of cinema.

What attracted Fellini and the creatures and visions he had were the most diversified people; but not people of an elite, as researched by Visconti. In this land of dreams, populated by colors, creatures of every sorta, there were most of the time common people in common daily situations, and sometimes surreal ones as for example when a man will discover later that he was dead. Travel is a current thematic for Fellini.

Absolutely attracted by Circus and Variety maybe also because two worlds in grade to present illusion, these worlds would have been largely used by the director. There is a constant happiness, a constant joy in a circus and in a variety and joy and happiness and youth and time seems blocked in that worlds.

He knew Walt Disney one of his heroes when in American for La Strada, and invited by Disney Fellini experienced a memorable day. He told anyway that who inspired him the most were the cartoons published in Il Corriere dei Piccoli, The Corriere of Little Ones, an italian magazine dedicated to children. One of his favorite characters Mandrake.


Fellini loved all his actors, extras included, with which he loved to continue to collaborate.
With him the logical scheme of a movie didn't exist anymore, and there wasn't a proper end.

He didn't love clowns a lot because they put him in a bad mood; they remembered him people he had known when little. People without a part of their body, or crazy people or people who during the war scared him to death but he won this fear putting them on the big screen.

Fellini tried to give vision to his movies at first not using the camera, no, but visualizing through cartoons, strips and sketches characters, situations, and changing continuously the movie also when in motion.

There wasn't a real script, tell people in this fascinating book, there was the genius, inventing, giving the chance of living the moment to the actors, because he had seen something else, somewhere on his mind.
He also wasn't satisfied when the product in post-production and in the phase of being dubbed. "Federico you can't whisper, the voice will be recorded" someone told him and Fellini: "Who cares?"
Discussions took place because of these interference with new lines for the characters. Not the old ones. New ones.

Sure he wasn't never alone, because this fertile imagination followed and accompanied him for his entire existence giving voices after all to an immense imaginary world he could see.

Not only: another fact needs needs to be told.
After the sad departure of Federico Fellini, it was shocking and pretty abrupt, it was published his oneiric book of dreams that could be re-baptized "The Oneiric Comedia by Federico Fellini". He loved after his numerous dreams during the night to put down what he saw giving bodies to characters, situations later used also in his movies. In his youth he had read various books By Carl Gustav Jung the most known students by Freud and although he had read Freud as well, the first one played a big role in the rest of his existence, because of his massive important theory of dreams and his meaning; Jung marked not just the day, but also the nights of Fellini populated by people, places, characters all the times different.


While Claudia Cardinale protagonist of 8 e mezzo considers with an adjective Fellini, magical, friends admit that his sensitivity was incredibly high, in particular Nicola Piovani tells in an interview about Fellini's experience with music, that to Fellini it was like to enter in a different state of mind, in grade of scare him to death, because touched him in profundity. He could cries for few notes, told Piovani.
Dante Ferretti one of our biggest characters in the USA, he worked with Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, Martin Scorsese and more, started his career with the Satyricon by Federico Fellini and tells that to him Fellini meant his green card, and his possibility of working in another country. "My diplomatic passport" admits Ferretti.

Other interview involves Milo Manara, Maurizio Millenotti, Jean Gili.

It's a magical book this one, I highly suggest it to you.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, gennaio 21, 2019

Ballet an intersection of beauty, sport, art

 Interview with Daria Ermakova founder of the Arabesque Dancing School

Located in Pontevalleceppi, Perugia, the school of ballet by Daria Ermakova founded three years ago has a suggestive name: Arabesque Scuola Danza. Russian origin, she tells that she studied in Saint Petersburg.
Daria is happy for this interview because to her, it is important to speak of ballet.
"I want to try to let understand to people what ballet is.'

What is it ms. Ermakova?
"Discipline, severity, considering also that the body will work per hours everyday if this one will become a profession. Ballet is, realistically, a sort of intersection of beauty, sport, art. As I say often, we live in another world."
Daria tells she entered at the Vaganova of Saint Petersburg at the age of 10 years, working later at the Theater Bolshoi of Moscow.
"It's a beautiful reality. Sure, age makes the difference because, well it's a story of corp of ballet. We start at 18 and we go to pension at 38 years. At the Theater of  L'Opera of Rome I think that the age of ending is 44. It depends by the various realities taken in consideration."
Why this?
"Well: you must consider that everyday we use our body at the extreme. Junctures, back, knees, with the time become more suffering and they lose the old elasticity. But, after this process, being very young, in general dancers become teachers."
Dancing is a sacrifice for many reasons: "A daily activity is indispensable. If you lose a day of exercise, the day after you feel that you are not OK and you are less flexible, for example."
Daria's school is divided in various levels: pre-dance for kids of 3-4 years and so on till to arrive at the 4th level that means, explains Daria the 6th year of study of ballet.
"And each student can, with flexibility, understands which kind of level she wants to reach. We don't have just ballet, but also hip hop and name a modern dance, be sure we teach it. You know: we want to give to all children what they need, in terms of versatility and offer."
Not just this, Daria tries also to help with costs. Ballet is expensive...
"Under many ways it is true. The cost of theater could be at the end of the year, but we do our best for giving the best offer to everyone, to me this one is a sort of crusade. A single tutu costs 50-60 euros per year, affordable to everyone."
Who can learn ballet?
"I start to tell you: everyone, although of course students must be in love for dancing. Then of course, a dancer is another story. They study dance everyday, per hours and they must be skinny. It's important their physical structure like also their character."
A mixture of body and soul...
"It's important to start ballet at 3-4 years because at that age muscles, tendons, bones are more than OK. If a person would want to start to study ballet at 20 years it would be too late."
Let's speak of this big prejudice involving male kids. In Italy it's difficult to find a male student. The situation in your school?
"Just two male students and I have wagons of students. They are involved in modern dance. Yes, it's an italian history this one; in Russia there is not this discrimination regarding this art; if a little male kid wants to practice ballet it's not a tragedy at all!"
Why would you suggest to parents of a male kid to permit him to dance instead of playing at soccer?
"Because these children would become gentle, educated people, tender. They're young men of culture, of peace. They interact with beauty environments."
Recently you received in your school Dorian Grory a name of the italian ballett.
"Yes, he became an important voice in Reggio Emilia at the Nuovo Balletto Classico where they prepare dancers who, later will dance in prestigious italian or foreigners theaters. Substantially Dorian studied at the Academy of Tirana and only later he afforded to Italy. This school was founded by Stefanescu and other people many years ago. It is a pretty known reality in the environment. We have also given hospitality to other prestigious dancers as well."

Anna Maria Polidori




domenica, gennaio 20, 2019

War on Peace The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence by Ronan Farrow

War on Peace The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence by Ronan Farrow Winner of the Pulitzer Prize (for a complete different story) is an amazing, engaging, enthralling absorbing book about what it means now and what it meant in the past in the USA, diplomacy.

What is diplomacy first of all? The first meaning on google I found (and with dial-up I stayed there) given by the Merrian-Webster Dictionary doesn't have any doubts: the art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations but also skill in handling affairs without arousing hostility.

Written divinely well, with clarity and at the same time the light style of the perfect storyteller and man of the world, trust me when I tell you that you won't be in grade to put down this book. If you are also interested to discover the biographies/existences of the most preeminent American diplomats, Ronan will reveal most of it; confidences, roles played by them in the diplomatic fields; marriages, divorces, children, habits.

Diplomacy was an aspect particularly important for the USA; in the past the country didn't experience serious problems because there was a good corp of diplomats in grade to keep on relationship with the world in a healthy way.

But, starting decades ago, the decadence. Reagan, Bush, after 9/11 the perception that maybe there was a big lack in this field appeared more clear and relevant.

Americans started to discuss topics with militars than not with diplomats and this one is a different song with different expectations and complete different results. Often.

While the current administration did all its best for cutting out most of the prominent diplomats still existing in the Department of the State including Countryman, we will focus our attention on Richard Holbrooke maybe the last and biggest eminent diplomat of the USA.

Holbrooke remembered the war of Vietnam; the one started in Afghanistan had various analogies and this comparison scared him to death.
The first analogy was that the Vietnam war was won thanks to a country adjacent to the conflict; in Afghanistan problem was an administration favoring writes Ronan Farrow "military voices and missing opportunities for negotiation."

Henry Kissinger would admit that diplomats with Afghanistan, after 9/11 committed their own errors as well; relationship with Pakistan were active because Americans tried their best  for capture Osama bin Laden, seeing him as an enemy before 9/11. Without any success.
At the same time Pakistan started to flirt with Soviets as well and the US, during a break in the bombing and too distracted for seeing what it was going on, "permitted" to a group of people, all terrorists, to emigrate in good places where they could start their projects for later to continue to devastate the Western world as we know it.
A CIA agent, wrote Ronan, admitted that "It was a mistake."

At the same time, back to the personal history of mr. Holbrooke, the man was searching for a high profile chair and the election of Obama meant to him the "expulsion" in prominent roles. Holbrooke didn't publicly, writes Ronan Farrow, adversed Obama, but he neither supported him, preferring also for a story of chairs, explains Farrow, the Clintons.
After all, as also writes Farrow "Obama just didn't like the guy."

That years Holbrooke assembled what Farrow calls "Ocean's Eleven heist team." Thirty young boys and girls from different disciplines and agencies with or without government experience; Ronan becomes after a while director of the Global Youth issues during the so-called Arab Spring.

Holbrooke in the while surrounded the office and himself by a lot of reporters, inviting celebrities. Ronan remembers that "There were reminders of his view of our place in history everywhere." and asked to Farrow if he was keeping a journal because one day he would have written about it.

President Obama asked a sweeping review in the while of America's role in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Bob Woodward, see at the voice Watergate, was involved in the project.
Obama didn't want to appear weak and decided to send more military forces in the areas although with the disapproval of various eminent American characters and diplomats.
While journalists started to be killed in that area of wars, Holbrooke tried his best for investing in agriculture in that distant lands.
Holbrooke tried his best for ending the war in Afghanistan presenting stability to Pakistan although someone said him that in those places it wouldn't have been as easy as at first imagined. Sure the best thing to do was to start a dialogue with the counterparts...At the same time frictions of Richard Holbrooke with the White House because of different visions and strategies starts to be known.
Holbrooke had seen Vietnam and he knew what had to be done.
He was sidelined although Clinton tried to protect him under her wings as long as possible. Holbrooke later needed to be operated with urgency but as you will read the procedure was absolutely nasty and Holbrooke didn't survive. Someone said that he asked to the doctor he would have operated him (he told him of staying relaxed)  of ending the war in Afghanistan, that it was what he wanted to do.
In the while diplomacy didn't sort out anything and someone called the year after the departure of Holbrooke an annus horribilis.
The fear of Holbrooke of a possible militarization of the US's approach with other countries remained in the memory of people close to him as a possible reality; with the Trump's administration writes Farrow, this story became real.
9/11 created of course a lot of confusion and shadows, and terror. In the immediate the question was: how to answer to these terrorists? Terrorists are shadows but they are also people and they live somewhere and someone protected them, asking them what to do, how to do that. There was and there is a structure well organized behind them.

What you'll understand reading this book, written by someone who is inside the world of diplomacy, and it will make the difference, trust me, is that certain men make the difference and diplomacy mainly makes the difference when it is driven, guided by brains in grade of looking forward, in grade to see how a situation contorted, maybe also difficult can be sorted out. Also the end of a conflict or just when it's necessary to keep harmonic relationships with close countries.

When diplomacy for a reason or another fails or is absent, an important ring of the chain in the process of dialogue between countries is missing, because guns or militars can't sort out the problems of this world. When a countryman chooses to let see to the world its "muscles" (guns, military forces) acts strategically carrying a precise message, but sometimes strength without  good brains and dialogue can't go too far.

We live in a confused world where the certainties of the past seem to be gone and where confusion and sadness and resurgence of old spectres are characterizing this historical moment.
Diplomacy is not just important in this historical moment but fundamental and vital!

Highly recommended book!

I thank Norton and Wiley for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, gennaio 19, 2019

Fire Readings A collection of Contemporary Writing from the Shakespeare &Company Benefit Readings

Fire Readings A collection of Contemporary Writing from the Shakespeare &Company Benefit Readings published by A-L Books is a book wanted and created for giving to the reader an idea of what happened in the literary world when writers discovered that on July 1990 a fire broke out on Shakespeare and Company damaging various locals and a lot of books of the beloved bookstore.
A devastated George Whitman, per decades owner of the store, went to bed too exhausted for thinking but brilliantly vigil once returned to work.
Being a beloved place, a nest for writers, aspiring writers, for young, for people in search of answers, of course the literary world expressed immense solidarity organizing literary events for earn money in grade to permit to Whitman to restore his bookstore more beauty than before.

And they reached this goal.

Paris, London, New York and Boston, the book is divided in four sections: you will start reading a contribution by George Whitman and then to follow you will discover David Applefield, Jim, Haynes,  Ken Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Patrick McGrath, and in Boston Edward Barrett, Pamela Alexander, and many many more.
They read poems or short tales during these events, and each of them have a great emotive impact. I was impressed by Jim Haynes Thanks for Coming about the editorial world.

A poet wrote
...

There Lingers a nameless melancholy in any aftermath
when a war's been won, a contest drawn, a dream tested
a comma is redundant perhaps the phrase is finished
since it seems nothing lies past the absolute
except craving more nevers
for the children of excess

Carol Ann Duffy's poems are spectaculars. This one my favorite.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti the creator of City Lights a bookstore located in San Francisco and great friend of George Whitman, penned ironically the "Fireword."
In the introduction, I won't return there because I think the past reviews have been exhaustive, you find all the entire story of this iconic, wonderful bookstore where Whitman realized his idea of living peacefully in a commune.
The book is also comprehensive of a lot of pictures.

Highly recommended.
No sure if the book is still available new.

I bought an used copy and look, there is the famous print of the bookstore!
Someone bought it directly in Paris and in the bookstore of Shakespeare and Company.

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, gennaio 18, 2019

Dove Finisce la Notte, Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully translated by Vera Sarzano

Dove Finisce la Notte, Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully translated for the italian version published by Garzanti by Vera Sarzano is a powerful book. 
At many levels.

It analyzes in fact a fragmented, tormented society not anymore free under all aspects; cultural, human. The claustrophobic sensation of not being in grade of doing anymore normal activities as in the past, like being who the person wants to be or just is or an activity like reading a book by an author appreciated but "banned" by the dictatorship means sadness, poverty, and an important loss of personal freedom; this lack of freedom is revealed in all its powerful devastation.

Yes, it was known that at a certain point Adolf Hitler created a list of unwanted authors, banning them, burning that books on 1933. People who tried their best for making a strong opposition to the regime he created and that would have brought Europe to the last Second World War were not seen well at all.
Thomas Mann one of the favorite authors of our heroine who had created a special and secret place carved in her house for these prohibited books was one of them.
The list of books that were burned included A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, How I Became a Socialist by Helen Keller, The Iron Heel, The Jacket and Martin Eden by Jack London, An Appeal to Reason by Thomas Mann, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, The Outline of History by HG Wells, Monographs about Marc Chagall and Paul Klee, and all books published before 1933 written by Sigmund Freud, Bertolt Brecht, Stefan Zweig, John Dos Passos and many more.
I highly suggest to all of you of reading these authors who made the difference. Hermann Hesse is not in this list but as remarked in the book by the author, he helped some writers in the while. I read most of the production by Hesse when a teenager. Another author you will love a lot. 

There is this sense suffocation in that historical period and the author capture it vividly; when situations are so limiting for people, and when any kind of human expression can't be expressed but repressed for fear and when there is the uncertainty of the "other" seen constantly with doubt and suspect and not anymore with the old and dear trust of more happiest periods where liberty meant everything.

The story opens on 1990 with the arrival of a letter "from the past" at the house of an old lady called Martha, pretty methodical. Martha lived a good and serene existence, her day was scheduled perfectly. Not that of course it is not possible to receive beauty news, but she didn't for sure wait anymore new, big, unexpected surprises from the remote past of her existence, and not from her teenage age! but once her post man brought her a letter written many decades ago, she returned to that distant years, when she fell in love for a blond and beautiful boy, later disappeared forever.

It was on 1990 that Maya the nephew of Martha attended a school year in Tarrytown close to NYC. Her granny always said her she had to visit the world, for learning more, for appreciate it.
Her granny would have disappeared in that distant land, and what remained of her discovered after many years from her disappearance. But why that trip? Why the USA, when her granny lived in Germany and, apparently she didn't have connection with the USA?

Martha...She was an avid reader, and she didn't like at all Hitler and the regime he established. She didn't live well the period close to the beginning of the Second World War. She lived with her mom and her twin brother Wolfgang with which in the past she was united. Wolfgang changed a lot with the arrival on scene of Hitler, a dictator he loved so badly. That 1938 was characterized by the the entrance in scene of Siegfried, a boy with which Martha will falls in love with and not just her...; someone not German, someone who worked for the Allies, and for the USA.

Now, let me introduce you the Resort Montgomery, a place with an intricate history.

Everything started when Franz decided to leave Europe for the USA, because of debts he had accumulated in the while. He wasn't a clear person at all and once arrived in the USA and in that corner of the world, so green, so beauty and fascinating, appreciated by a lot of people, President Roosevelt included, he decided that that place would have been his one. He did all his best for ruin the other proprietor of the Resort, mr Stockwell and he would have continued to cause a lot of sadness and unhappiness to everyone close to him, his wife, his children included.

Speaking of children, the arrival of Hans meant a lot of expectations, because Franz thought that Hans would have continued the familiar activity. But Hans was bewitched by the arrival in their resort of Roosevelt and a too much wonderful opportunity he could not refuse. So, Franz, after the marriage of Hans with Elisa, once Hans abandoned the wife, would have had the ungrateful obligation of warming the bed of the young, poor girl left alone, impregnating her various times; that eccentric boy, Hans didn't mind and was in search of freedom from constrictions and a defined future, "marching" in the unknown and in a country, where freedom the word he was searching for, was just a pale memory.

Maya when discovers what happened to her granny flies to the USA and decides to stay at the Resort, understanding pretty soon that her granny was killed, for what seen by the authoptic exam; and maybe there was still a dangerous criminal somewhere free.

Ben is the nephew of mr Montgomery and he organizes that days Maya is in the resort a creative writing course. Thinking that he has in front of her a famous Northern European writer, he suggests her of following the courses. Not only: the two will also become pretty soon in love.

Maya accepts to let believe to people that she is who she isn't. It will be just for a while. The revelation of the murder is written and based on a fairy tale that I would suggest to you of reading very well The Fairy of War and in the forest, where it seems that most of the protagonists of this tale discovered a secure refugee...

The author at the end said that this book was directly inspired by her grand-dad and grand-mother's letters and material that they had accumulated in the while. Stunning!

I found this book impressively fascinating; it sounded as if time was suspended and characters and familiar dynamics were pretty complicated in particular the one of the Montgomery Family.

The author is at her first novel but she was part of movie projects like Contagion, The Marigold Hotel, and the stunning beautiful movie (and book) The Help.

I thank Garzanti for the ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, gennaio 16, 2019

Album Unpublished Correspondence and Texts Roland Barthes Translated by Jody Gladding

Album Unpublished Correspondence and Texts Roland Barthes Translated by Jody Gladding treats for the first time, published in english, texts and correspondence of the beloved and estimated french philosopher, literary theorist, semiotician.
Born in Cherbourg, the existence of Barthes has been characterized by study, thinking, books from the early years of his existence as you will read.

He was a serious and devoted, voracious letter-writer. I loved the letters from the sanatorium where he spent a lot of time; he was after all in good mood, as you will see.
Young Barthes continued to reading in the while; from Anatole France, to Valerie, from Proust, adding of this last one "Proust is at heart a prose poet....H analyzes all the sensations and memories that this act awakens in him..." to Racine and many more.

Speaking of that outside world left alone for a long while, he wrote to
one of his main friends, "Every point of comparison must be suppressed between the past - house, mother, friends, Paris streets, the living world - where everything is possible - and the present ..."

Writing to a friend he was in love with: "I really think that what divides us has no meaning...It's not the desire of comfort that leads me to air my feelings, but...the illusion that one will see through my weakness -which is irresponsible of me-to what I feel to be there of strength and grandeur."

Poetic man, and wonderful writer, his sensations didn't know any sort of reticence. He was an honest man in his writings and feelings reporting without doubt and great clarity what he felt, his impressions, whatever the topic could be. Books, love, friendship, health.

After the last second world war, we see that Barthes starts his career as a writer, at the research of a publishing house, and writer of the first  critical works. 
The book follows the successes and life of Barthes 'till the end and these correspondences includes letters to Maurice Blanchot, Michel Butor, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Claude Levi-Strauss, Marthe Robert and others.

You will also find, if you are interested as a teacher or as a student other material in the transcripts from his seminars.
I loved The Postage Stamp. When there were still letters, stamps meant a lot for the sender and they were socially a way for introducing us in other cultures as well.

On Seven Sentences the reader will be immersed in the...sentence's world.

This one is a book that can be explored. You can start with certain correspondence, you can pass to various other sections happily and without to feel any kind of disconnection and first of all, always finding what you are searching for.

The book can be read by everyone without any kind of difficulty.

I love the cover.

Highly recommended.

I thank Columbia University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

Eating Culture An Anthropological Guide to Food by Gillian Crowther

Eating Culture An Anthropological Guide to Food by Gillian Crowther published by University of Toronto Press reached the second edition recently.

Splendidly illustrated, this superb book is mainly an anthropological cultural guide, that I know you will find truly fascinating; a trip of man through food and its most profound meaning.

We are what we it; what we eat define us; nothing is more interconnected with us than food.
Why?
Maybe because eating can't be avoided and the place where we live, the cultural traditions and foods that accompany us during our existence, speak for us, for our community and our way of living and our way of life.

Men are omnivorous and this one is a fact.
What I didn't know is that the fact that we are bipedalist, caused not just a change of perspective also in terms of research of food (and there, I was) but also a biggest dispersion of energy.
Men in fact learned how to hunting and procure food for themselves and their families with different systems, and with a best geniality than not how our progenitors did.

But what to eat and how, when, where? And: do we eat well?

Prohibitions are part of religion. I remember our jewish friend; he asked us of avoid any kind of pork meat because of religious respect; chinese, as remarked in this book eats dogs meat with normality; to the western population it would mean a horror.

Americans for example don't tend of eating rabbits, or pigeon's meat (for what some friends told me; although of course they can learn).

But how much food can interact with religion?
We have seen the respect brought by Jewish to religion, but another great and spiritual land loves to do the same: it is India.

There is a profound relationship between spiritual and physical health passing through food. "You are what you eat and You eat what you are" is their main thought about the strict relationship existing between food and man.

In a sacred text  it's written: "Without a proper diet, medicines are of no use: with a proper diet, medicines are unnecessary."
For Ayurvedic medicine diet means also the harmonic balance between body, mind and spirit.

Sure diets are many and the most diversified. Some of them can also be "addressed" by politicians for promoting the food of the country where they live in, Patriotically.

Diets can let us introduce "distant" foods, that in the past we didn't know, from spices to fruits, that reached us recently and that are experiencing a lot of success.
Sure the most devastating diet has been the fast food one.
Could we call it a diet? Yes but also an habit.
A wrong one, and in this book of course reported the problems that a massively use and abuse of this habit or diet, can brings with the time.


Man with the time learned, of course at various altitude and with the cultural, social, environmentalists differences that there are to build his own cultural, social community; a cultural and social community that would have passed through food seen as the most important passport and identity.
The author speaks largely of a little community in Alaska where they are big consumers of salmon; to them eating salmon is not just introducing a fish, but salmon is who they are as social entity and identity.

With the time man settled down in various areas of the Planet discovering an agricultural role, and giving space to pastoralism as well.

In recent centuries man discovered also how to chemically fertilize our lands. Who was the inventor of fertilizers?
A German chemist called Justus von Liebig.
He discovered the chemical composition of soil and so he started to add new substances for producing more.
We are in the modern age; the one based on an agriculture made by fertilizers and speaking about animals, mass production. Although the romantic farm still exists, there are also new realities in grade to give to consumers a lot of meal at a good price.

Not only: lately we have seen the arrival of GMO on our tables.

In the past there was but still there is, the market where people tended to buying the most of it, food included, from spices, to fruit.
These places are not completely replaced by supermarkets, but of course, recently we have seen an exponential growth of them as well.

Ad advice giving in this book? Read labels before to buying food that you will put industrial food on your table.

Agriculture is a sector always more exported or imported. We search for exotic food and we export our own fruits and cheese and whatever it is possible to imagine.
Cooking means being social, and as you will see it will be largely treated in the book.

After food what is there? The memory of it and often the memory of it passes through cookbooks of every possible sorta. Some recipes aggregated in a cookbook remarks the identity of some typical food of a certain corner of the world.
In this book we see a smiling Italian-Canadian lady with a copy of the Artusi cook book the Bible of the italian cuisine.

Often recipes are also passed by mother to daughter but also in a contest of community when there is a situation of publicly cook.

An important section of the book is about commensality.
I found captivating  Eating Out and Gastronomy; our modalities of eating food when we are outside. Street-food, pizzas, but also eating sitting down.

Now more than in any other eras we think globally acting locally, and eating "internationally".

Eating means as also remind us the author ethicism; a person could find frustration of adding foods available for us and considered chic when the local poor population where this food is cultivated can't eat it.

Eating doesn't pass just from our mouth but also our heart and consciousness.

Absolutely beautiful and wonderful book; plenty of curiosities, you'll understand everything  about food, its own history and at the same time the story of Man, his relationship with lands, sea, animals because of...food and what food meant for many cultures sometimes very different from our one.

Highly recommended.

I thank  University of Toronto Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

L'Assemblea dei Morti The Meeting of the Deads by Tomas Barbulo

If you love the genre, L'Assemblea dei Morti The Meeting of the Deads by Tomas Barbulo is for you., Funny, quick, captivating, if you love thriller, go for this one. You will surely read a great book and a story orchestrated with great intelligence and humor. 

Madrid. Three men, unemployed or with frustrating jobs that can't bring food on their tables thanks to the poverty are contacted by El Guapo, who previously had spoken with someone very important for a special, absolutely lucrative job.

Rich, important, with great connections, this powerful man asks at El Guapo for 2 million of euros of stealing in a bank located at Marrakesh, Morocco, jewels for an amount of 6 million of euros.
During the first approach and conversation and when the potential burglar didn't know where the place was located, he said no, but then, thinking that maybe he could have done it with a certain simplicity, he contacts other three people, and all together, wives included and other people met along their way they will afford to Morocco because of this rubbery, although you know, this one will be an adventure...


The author is a journalist. Barbulo is a reporter for El Pais in the Middle-East.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, gennaio 13, 2019

The only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

Marie Benedict is enchanting. There are no other ways orowordsofor describing all her books and her writing-style, delicate, penetrating and psychologically engaging.  You are cuddled by her words and the fascinating atmosphere she creates every time. 
Her previous books, Carnegie's Maid and The Other Einstein revealed us the characters of two stunning women like she does also in this latest novel, The Only Woman in the Room. In this one, there is a stunning reconstruction of the suffering years that preceeded the beginning of the horror that was the Last Second World War Conflict and not only. The book is divided in two parts as the life of the protagonist has been.

I didn't know anything of Hedy Lamarr before reading this book, a character who can't be forgotten with simplicity.

It happened not just to Lamarr, Austrian, to ending in the hands of someone in the other part of the barricade before that the Second World War would started: victims and torturers.

Jewish, and proud to be a Jewish, Hedwig Kiesler of Dobling Austria,  at 18 years made a movie, censored,  and she was the protagonist of Sissi at the theater of Wien. She starts to be courted by an influential, rich man of a certain age, Fritz, Friedrich Mandl. Mandl created and sold munitions to people of extreme right: he had direct contacts with Mussolini and the rest of the fascists and nazists borning establishment in the various European States, Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany.
Substantially he was in contact with dictators.

Fritz appears terribly romantic with this girl presenting her wagons of roses every day after the show of Sissy and going directly to speak with the parents of the girl asking for the hand of their daughter.
Worries were many and this choice was made by the parents of Hedwig "opportunistically", thinking that maybe their daughter and family and village would have escaped the horror that the dad of Hedwig was imagining in a few years.
The sensation that something horrible would have happened to them in case of a no was too big.

At the same time, the girl falls fascinated in the while by this man; she eats with him in plates that are made by real gold and in stunning places, so she is both surprised and pleased by these wonderful attentions.

She says at some point: "The success in Sissy, my burgeoning relationship with Fritz, they felt too perfect to be real. Unearned, Mama would say."

The marriage will be celebrated in a catholic church and the girl constricted also to become christian.

After the wedding as sometimes happens, the groom is not anymore the peaceful and nice man known before and Fritz is part of this gang. Oh, the honeymoon appeared to be so romantic; Italy, France, the most stunning localities that a newly wed couple can dream of, but what this girl will tell us, the book is written in first person, is that Fritz at some point will start to be "different." Yes, she covered the girl of attentions, but what he wanted was someone beauty to be displayed during their numerous lunches and events.
His mantra was that "The power of money always prevail."

We will see that Fritz gave hospitality to Mussolini, that he personally knew and many other esponents of right while, the girl started always more that these events continued to going on and hatred against Jewish more strong and dangerous, to be worried.

Situation deteriorates in particular during the vision of the movie where the girl is protagonist.

Fritz thinks that she shouldn't go out anymore closing her in his estates. Like a bird in a cage.

The girl decides to going away, but how to do that? She tries several times and then she does it.

She affords to London and then to Los Angeles, where she starts a new life with a new last name, Lamarr.

Considering what she knew and heard during conversations, meetings, lunches, dinners of her husband with the dictators of the moment, Hedy will be helpful during the second world war.

A consideration of the protagonist of this book: "My personal history and every path I could have chosen in my past had shaped my present", says.

That's why she had to acting, believing in someone for doing it.

A wonderful book this one, intense as the previous ones written by Marie Benedict. She is one of my favorite writers and so I want to read immediately her works, they are stunning and there is a great sensibility and description are paradisiacally beauty, there is a richness of interiority that this author is in grade to transmit to her readers while she becomes her characters giving them a strong voice. 


I want, just before to close this review to open a parenthesys regarding Sissi.
I read various biographies of Sissi, and in this sense I didn't know at all that she  lived secluded because of her husband.
Francis Joseph found, helped by Sissi a lover in an actress of theater, now I forgot the name of this girl, while Sissi continued to live her own life, yes, devastated by the loss of his son Rudolph and the death, never clarified of his beloved cousin Ludwig; I din't know at all that the emperor kept her secluded; considering her character it wouldn't never been possible. At the end the ladies chosen for staying close to Sissi were not anymore "picked up" for the importance that they had at court, but because healthy and with a strong constitution. Sissi loved to walk per kilometers also during the night and it requested ability, a good and energetic body. I didn't know of this role played by Francis Joseph. 

I thank NetGalley and Sourcebooks for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori



sabato, gennaio 12, 2019

A Moveable Feast The Restored Edition by Ernest Hemingway

I didn't read boks written by people who killed themselves.
It was a strong guidelines that I followed per decades. It was as if, in their books, somewhere I would have found some traces of what they would have done later and I had heard when too little too much  and when you can't metabolize what happened or the meaning of horrible situations like the one of listening what adults said of people who killed themselves I simply closed doors. Emotively. 

Speaking with people of culture they said me that it was an irrational  behavior this one. "Who cares how a writer died?" they said me but to me this one was a fundamental point. All the story made me fear.

It made me fear to read words expressed by someone who, later would have decided to leave the world in this way.

Per decades I avoided, strongly avoided also Ernest Hemingway.
Not only: I bought most of his books but scared, as I did also with a beautiful book by Van Gogh, (painters were included in the list of course) I presented them to libraries or just renstituted.

Then, maybe, I simply mentally grew up and these obsessions over.

In the case of Ernest Hemingway, Woody Allen made the miracle with Midnight in Paris, breaking all my resistances and restituting the image of a man with which everyone would have fallen in love with, because with strong opinions, great observer, in love for life and people, common ones, cafès, food and wine, sociality; someone not snob but a decent man with everyone, helpful; at the end a good, surely troubled man. No one write if there are not demons in his/her souls.

Thanks to the book I read and reviewed involving Shakespeare and Company, I thought that it was time for him.
I read James Joyce at 15 years, oh The Doubliners, it was an adventure! I will tell you in another occasion; I read Francis Scott Fitzgerald a lot of time ago.

I picked up A Moveable Feast
the posthoumus book published by Scribner after three years from the departure of the writer; this edition has been restored if compared at the previous one and it is amazing. I read it today in few hours. Hemingway knows how to capture the attention of the reader. It's like a long conversation with the reader although this one is alsoaan intimistic tale and a vivid portrait of what experienced by Ernest Hemingway and his wife when in Paris and when there was still uncertainty about his future.
Oh, it is an enxchanting book, of an enchanting Paris and enchanting and supportive people. 

Hemingway remembers that "Many are stronger at the broken places. ...This is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and  very happy."

Hemingway remembers the years of Paris with great joy defining also his financial problems. No: he and his wife refused to think, psychologically that they were poor. They anyway, tried all their best for saving and not spend a lot of money. At first Hemingway worked for a Toronto magazine and other important european magazines and it meant to afford in various european places with a good dress, a good hair cut, good shoes. Social life means also spending more money, it is known.

Hemingway remembers in this book how difficult it was to be starved in Paris. Wherever you went you saw a good patisserie, or a bakery store and not being in grade of buying that heavinly good  food was a real devastation.

Ernest Hemingway wasn't a guy who loved to write isolated by the rest of the world, alienated by everything and everyone.

All the opposite, our man was an addicted social guy! He searched for people, for moods, for conversations, for beauty, expressions. 

He searched for the reality, for real people, for describing people, for reporting a face, a dialogue, a special moment. Hemingway remembered all people touched his existencee He knew too well that life is in motion, in fact once,  when he went to Lyon for following a strained Scott Fitzgerald he remarked the lost of time, spent in a sort of nonsense considering what happened. He would have preferred to stayin in a café chatting with someone or just writing down a new story while drinking a beer and tasting some delicious food.

If you are a writer I would suggest this book also to you because if you search for  tips or suggestions, it is precious.

Substantially what I honestly think is that Hemingway hasn't never lost his touch as a reporter.
Detailed but essential, his writing-style is engaging and funny, and most important, honest with himself and with other ones.

He felt anthypaty for someone and he wrote it without too many compliments.
You won't find a truth modified just because there are a lot of writers and known people involved. Clear and honest, his truth and perception of reality result vivid, healthy, clear. I found him cryptic in the final chapters and he sounded as "broken."

When installed to Paris, money were not sufficient for buying new books. How to do that?
One day Hemingway discovered Shakespeare and Company and mainly Sylvia Beach a lady in grade to be helpful with everyone. Ernest couldn't buy new books because too poor and Sylvia with trust and pleasure lent him wagons of books. Bookstalls were another favorite place where Ernest loved to buying used books, as you will read. And it is interesting what he will tell about these bookstalls although it is with Sylvia Beach that Hemingway established an exclusive friendship and, as always, Sylvia like a guardian angel will be supportive, helping him in many different encouraging ways. 

Another special friend by Hemingway per years was Gertrude Stein, remembered by the beloved author as someone who wouldn't never read a book written by an author  who did not speak well of her writings. In a way or in another, this friendship ended. Stein puts in discussion all the authors young Ernest reads; for respect, she was much more old then him he was frank but kept for himself his most private considerations about the opinions of his friend.

Per years, Ernest Hemingway was a great friend of Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Scott Fitzgerald became a heavy drunker pretty soon and when he fell sick because of alcohol, he reports Hemingway he had like the face of a dead person.
Later, situation became heaviest. Scott Fitzgerald became unsober starting from the early morning while Zelda became mentally sick, but surely this one has been one of the most important friends of Ernest Hemingway at long.

Beautiful book, written with heart and with a powerful prose the title A Moveable Feast was an expression used by Hemingway for describing these immensely joyous years of his youth to Paris.

I want to close with this quote by Hemingway: "There is never ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were nor how it was changed nor with what difficulties nor what ease it could be reached. It was always worth it and we received a return for whatever we brought to it."


Anna Maria Polidori