sabato, ottobre 24, 2020

L'Amour des Fantomes by Christian Bobin

 An intimate trip dedicated to his hometown but also at the existence this pamphlet  written by Christian Bobin, L'Amour des Fantomes

published by l'Editions de L'Herne. 

The author and poet won't forget to visiting the most important places of his existence, remembering people, remembering after all the phantoms of what has been because with the time people disappear, buildings are destroyed for creating something new 

although  life lives a perennial mutation, remaining at the same time the old one knew by everyone with its big and little miseries.

Born in Creusot, precisely in rue d'Allevard  the poet remarks that our real existence is not the one of the day of our birth but the one of the birth of our spirit. We born at intermittance precises Bobin, and this history is never realistically ended or just started.

His governess  has been a rose found in the garden, his chinese teacher a cloud and his traveller companions dandelions; although being a poet and wanted to become a poet, Bobin insists he is never born in Creusot, finding immobility the biggest adventure discovered at school.

What it is important to do is not leaving the black butterfly in its immobility thanks to the knowledge of many languages; after all everything is alive in the world, apart the world.

What is the world, if not, looking at the black butterfly, the ecstatic state of immobility sometimes a precise state of mind of our existence?There are moments in which we are more lethargic, in which we procrastinate, in which we are like the black butterfly.

The departure of a leaf, starts in autumn when she falls on the ground, and when she becomes more frail, dying; when her pieces are transported somewhere else thanks to the wind or when some people destroy walking the poor leaf; but the myracle is this one; the resurrection of the tree and the new born of other leaves once in spring.

And that leaf, undermarks the poet, is the first material of his real city, the indestructible foundation. Looking at a place he loves so much reflects that has been sweet that desire of dying, sincerity in motion. His town is like a boat water landed at the river of XX century.

And in this place the story of a lot of men and women has been written as if the one of a bird in a branch.

What is a town if not the essence of its citizens? Bernard is the protagonist of one of his poems because of its eccentricities. Emmanuel is another typical character of the town. You can ask him everything: painting your house, cleaning, everything: he has this motto: if my work is not perfect, I could feel sick.

Nothing change in this world; wars start continuouslu  because of religion, pestilences are still in our society, at the moment the ones brought by the modernity (Covid wasn't still a reality) under the shape of technology. 

Who is a man when nothing mind?

There is strong melancholy for the first years of the existence when there is that "bleu perdu", that innocence, but also that brise that maybe won't never return anymore in the existence, once grown-up  but it is comforting to think that we don't live in the town 

where we live in, nor in the land where we live in but in a bit of sky. There is the concept of elevation of spirit and the meaning of something aeternum.

Christian Bobin remarks also the importance of written letters when he imagines Rue Leclerc. Close to it there is the local post office and he must sends several letters.People at the moment don't write anymore as in the past, but it's in the past that people left us memoirs and stunning existential evidences of their passage on this Earth. Rue Leclerc is important because of the two librarians Sylvie and Veronique and their work.

Continuing the walk all along the town, Villedieu is another special corner for the author; the oldest part of the city;  the immortality remains young.

I like so badly the comparison of a leaf and a dancer and the evolution that, both a body and a leaf do when, the dancer  reach harmonically the whole universe and the leaf dances its last dance before ending the existence.

A theater, Copy Jet is replacing the old maternal school where Bobin studied. 

Oh,a theather is a magical place where life is constantly in motion, and where there is a perennial representiation of the existence under all its aspects.

The road and house where he spent his childhood but also the melancholic moments of his lost childhood, "la construction the mon coeur, sa premiere pierre posée, est une marche d'escalier dans la coeur d'enfance" writes Bobin.

There is, during that beautiful moments a book he remembered he loved a lot when a kid. Old, very used it was: Le Chevalier de maison rouge, The Knight of the Red House by Dumas and he dreams...The time is like a weight in the heart, and sometimes it is a physical sensation.

The kid, now a man, understands something terrible: that his reality starts to be surrounded by shadows, phantoms, who slowly will penentrate in his thoughts, phrases, letters, and at least, poems.

Enchanting! You'll love it

I thank L'Editions L'Herne for the physical copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 


martedì, ottobre 20, 2020

Letter to D. A Love Story by André Gorz

 What a wonderful, intense, tremendous testament of Love is Letter to D.

A Love Story by André Gorz, translated by Julie Rose, published by Polity.  I hadn't never read more beautiful words, more moving words, for describing the love of the existence of spent by mr.Gorz, with his british Dorine, wife from 58 years.

Love at first sight, this Jew from Austria, was catapulted in the intense world of Dorine, a fearless girl, plenty of enthusiasm and joy de vivre. Sometimes André tought that maybe Dorine was too much to him but Dorine simply loved him with all herself, and passionately asked him of marrying her, without thinking too much. Dorine, english, was a girl in grade of attracting a lot of people in her orbit, close to her; it was more difficult for Groz, who left to the wife the direction of their existence. If at first they lived pretty humbly and without too many financial resources, with jobs bringing uncertainties and not too much food on the table, the meeting with crucial men like Sartre will open to André Groz many opportunities. Dorine will, in the while, stay always be close to him, suggesting, inspiring, and devotingly encouraging him in his writings.

No one has been more important than Dorine in the existence of Groz and this celebration continues when he tell us that later they went to live in the french countryside at 30 km from Paris.

Dorine loved simple life, it was a kind of manifesto for this couple. When she started to suffering of a chronic illness caused by a substance injected her years before in the spinal chord because of an operation and never "deleted" by the organism, she will start practising yoga, taking under control pains and sufferances harmonically and without the help of too many strong medical remedies. Another important step for this couple the cervical cancer of Dorine, sorted out successfully. 

They lived frugally, remembers André, with a budget that Dorine prepared every month for their expenses, but, at the same time Dorine, a strong character, refused any kind of dictaction from fashion; she wears what she wanted to wear. They didn't afford in expensive places when in vacation. There is a strong critic at the modern system and at a way of living, in a too dissolute and irrational way, where extra-aboundance is lived abnormally in particular in certain countries like the USA, remembers Groz. 

Dorine lived a long life, but later, when she was sick, and the possibility of dying always more close, Gorz, as anticipated at the end of this letter in this passage "I don't want to be there for your cremation; I don't want to be given an urn with your ashes in it...Neither of us wants to outlive the other. We've often said to ourselves that if, ny some miracle, we were to have a second life, we'd like to spend it together" will commit suicide with his wife; they were found peacefully lying in their bed in 2007. This book was released when Gorz and his wife still alive, in 2006 and at first André Gorz thought that maybe it wouldn't have had a great success, while it became a real bestseller for the reasons that you will discover!

Oh, you must read this book. It's intense, romantic, written with great passion, love! Not only: Gorz gives the best idea in words of all the intensity with which a man can loves his woman. 

I thank Polity for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, ottobre 19, 2020

L'Ottava Vita (per Brilka) by Nino Haratischwili

 L'Ottava Vita

(per Brilka), the Eighth Life for Brilka by Nino Haratischwili is a sublime, superb, wonderful and enchanting book; you can't lose the chance of reading it!

When I received it, I choose this one during the summer time attracted by the story and the cover, I didn't notice that it was long 1100 pages.In general I love long books, but receiving it during the summer-time with other books that I needed a review I thought....

Oh my...

I tell the truth: I was tempted to use the press release sent with the book. "Yes, come on, I will read it later with more freedom, in the while let's give to the reader an idea of what it is..." Just, all the times I tried to using the press release paper, I thought: no...It's too beauty I must read it. Every single word. And I just threw it away!

I waited for the arrival of fall, a season of year more opportune and adapted for sagas and family stories. 

I was right. 

I ended this book yesterday night; I woke up in the nights for reading more because I was peaceless. I wanted to know the end, I wanted to find peace for that characters and for a history that it is sad, absorbing, incredible.

Every night I dream these characters, and they're best dreams than not the ones related to Covid-19.

I appreciated the thoughts of the author, her magnificient way of describing the history of a century, in Georgia but Russia as well, and these characters are uniques and at the same time, expressions of the mirror of the times. In recent years we will find also problematic like drugs, and new addictions, alcohol apart. 

This book is an analysis of the various, different societies known by Russia and Georgia. 

From the Tzar to the arrival of a system, the Communism one that woud have collapsed only in 1989 with  the polemics that followed. 

Looking at the Communism "from the inside"is a complete different history than looking at it as a western citizen. 

To us Gorbacev has always meant freedom from a system unable to give answers, hope, future to people, but I was surprised to read many critics; as we will see history lived by the characters will tell another history.

Because of opportunistic reasons and the inability of learning  in the eastern states what meant the word freedom and the creation of different, democratic states, everything became maybe more confused and dangerous and there wasa different...perdition. 

More freedom meant also, with the end of Communism, new desperations and exasperations. If the Communism had brought passivity (and many suicides as well because people didn't find any kind of purpose in living a life without purposes or projectuality) dictated by the strong regime, without opposition, made of silences, made of falsity, corruption, freedom meant introduction of western touches, and the lost of that certainties that where still solid in the Eastern part of the world.

It's a story that starts in Georgia, this one in the home of a man who owned a chocolate store.

Mr. Jashi created several interesting, delicious chocolate recipes for attracting his customers to his store, but the best recipe never shared in public was the one of a cup of chocolate, considered by mr.Jashi absolutely terrible, because if at first was satisfying, later the final bitter taste that would have left with the time would have been the most cruel one. Substantially, every person who would have drunk this chocolate would have been cursed.

And this one, was symbolically and practically the curse of the family Jashi.

As said Brilka in the final pages of the book every curse has a spell in grade of "killing" the curse. In the case of family Jashi was the...brown color. I don't want to reveal more. 

Mr.Jashi had had several children: Stasia, my favorite character, Christine, Meri, Lida. 

The last two ones won't be taken in great consideration while Stasia and Christine will absorb pages till the end of the story. 

Stasia was a rebel, someone sincere. She wanted to become a great dancer, joining the Russian Ballet in Paris, while, she fell in love for Simon, who worked in the Army and married him at just 17 years.

Simon went away soon and Stasia spent months and months without her groom. Once, she asked to a priest of helping her: she wanted to escape, searching for her husband. 

Communism was becoming a reality and peasants were in revolt. 

She escaped away arriving at Pietrogrado where she stayed for more than two years in the house of an aunt, Thekla. Although Thekla's house was depredated by everyone  with various difficulties life went on well.

Sure, the world represented in Pietrogrado is a world of confusion, destruction, devastation. Peasants strongly disagree with the new rules dictated by communism and they didn't want to give their properties or lands to the government. That ones must have been horrible years.

Stasia once prepared the famous cup of chocolate and her aunt Thekla asked for it often. In the while Stasia started to take dancing lessons but when her fantastic Jew dancer teacher left the city, she felt that another important person, to her, was gone. And she wanted to return home. She tried to convince her aunt to do the same but Thekla will take another decision close to a warm cup of chocolate and a fatal substance.

It was 1919.

Yes, the thematic of suicide is felt in this book  and you will find several people who will decide for this resolution for a reason or another but always because of an intense desperation, the idea that their time was over and that they couldn't tell anything new to anyone or just because they wanted to continue to live in the past and they couldn't see anymore a present or a future. Suicide is read like an escapism.

The shadow of her aunt and of her teacher will stay close to her forever. Simon will join his wife sometimes and they had two children, Kitty and Kostja. 

Christine at the same time, beautiful woman, married Ramas an older but affectionated man and started to spend the existence she wanted in luxuries of various genre. 

Ramas was an important supporter of Communism and of the Little Big Man, an important "piece" of the party; Ramas didn't lose his house, or his lands when the Communist became reality because he had donated wagons of money to the cause and so he could keep everything he had, all his books, paintings, and every object you can think at. In this case there was private property.

The Little Big Man, once in visit during a feast at the house of Ramas, fell in love for Christine. 

Christine couldn't avoid the pressure of that man and she started to visit the house of her lover regularly. It was a sacrifice she did for saving the existence of her husband, who, strangely was always away for work, as ordered by the Little Big Man, for obvious reasons. 

Ramas, at first happy and cheerful, understood at a certain point that something was wrong: there was just a thing to do!

Stasia, at the house of Christine for growing her children Kitty and Kostja, with which she hasn't never had a good relationship because she wasn't made for being a mother, knew Sopio Eristavi. Sopio was a rebel woman and had a son called Andro; she was a firm oppositor of the new regime.

Sopio knew that a lot of people were deported and lost their existences. Stasia was intelligent but she didn't understand completely her friend. What she admired of her was the wonderful relationship with her son Andro, something completely unknown to her; her children preferred the attention of their aunt Christine, who, childless (she remained pregnant of the Little Big Man but sorted out the story quickly!) had much more humanity.

Christine, being in contact with important exponents of the Communist Party told to Stasia that maybe her friend was at risk, but Stasia didn't notice it, didn't take in consideration what said her sister. So Sopio was brought in a camp and later was killed. Andro, her son, remained at the house of Stasia and Christine, and grew up with Kostja and Kitty.

Kostja at some point left the house for entering in the Naval Army. There, after a while  will meet Ida. Ida was 40 years, she was a beautiful lady and with her lived an unforgettable passion. Then, one day, guessing that a new world war would have started soon, Ida said at Kostja that she didn't want to see him anymore.

Oh, Kostja was traumatized by this situation; he searched for this lady, asking informations and whatever he could, spasmodically. Later, he would have discovered the truth and the rest of women Kostja had, mostly of them in their 20s also when he was pretty old, were important to him just for his pleasure and nothing else. 

Ida in her altruism, when Russia was a destroyed place after long years of war, where people walked like zombies because of poverty, caresty and starvation will re-discover french composers thanks to a talented piano player, an eyeless girl...

Kitty fall in love for Andro and she remain pregnant. Then Andro leaves for joining the nazists as a sort of spy; considering what happened to the mother preferred in this way. It was the wrongest decision of his existence because Andro wasn't a boy for it. The communist revenge against Kitty was cruel.

She "lost" her baby thanks to Mariam; later, once she was OK, digged the grave where Mariam had buried the baby for seeing his face, for seeing his baby; looking at that horror she vomited but asked to the baby of not forgetting her. She wouldn't never have forgotten that baby born dead because of other people's hands.For a revenge. 

Andro will be captured and put in a camp becoming just the pale idea of who he was.

Mariam, with which Kitty shares the terrible secret of her pregnancy, her prisonery and the terrible homicide of her baby, falls in love for Kostja. Then, one night, during a feast, Kitty notices close to Kostja a beautiful lady, with a beautiful voice: oh my God! she was the one who tortured her, the one who ordered to Mariam of killing her baby!

Kitty shares these informations with Mariam... And what happen is terrible.

Kitty leaves Georgia and Tblisi, because she can't live there anymore, being involved in a criminal case; she lives in London where she meets a lady, Amy, married but in a relationship with a girl named Fred; there, she is becoming a singer. She is followed, silently during the long years of esilium by the closest friend of Kostja, Giorgi.

At the same time, Stalin dies and a new man, Chruscev is at power. The new leader admits the horrors committed in the past, promising new freedom.

We leave Kitty and we return to Georgia.  

Kostja after the delusions experienced and disenchanted about love, after all he didn't love Mariam as he loved Ida, will marry a girl called Nana. Nana won't live a happy life close to him but they have Elene. Elene will have two children with two different men called Daria and Niza.

Daria was beautiful, a girl like Christine. Same stunning beauty, same curse. 

She meets a married man when she starts the career of actress, that will make her strongly unhappy. Niza is more rebel and she would want to be accepted by everyone, because she is not beloved at all so she talks too much, searching to begging for some love, she tries all her best for being loved, sometimes causing messes. She is the narrating voice of this book; Niza loves reading, writing. She meets at the Green House the son of Miqa, (terrible destiny, poor boy because of a movie that they wanted to realize and because of Elene...) Miro and they become lovers. 

But the disgrace of Daria changed the planes of Niza and she will go away.

In the while, socially, the country is devastated, because yes, the Communism was over but Georgia became and still is a peaceless land.

It will be Brilka, Daria's daughter, just 12 years, that will bring new life in Niza's existence. She controls her existence thanks to various tics, and manics created for avoid disgraces.

Stasia is the most dreaming character. She will always look in a corner of the garden where Thekla and Sopio and later many more people will play at cards all together. A connection with the other world, with the shadows of he past and phantoms that you will meet again also in Kitty's story, never disconnected at the end of her life by Andro and their potentially beautiful love-story.

You can find pieces of yourself in all these characters. Personally I saw my father several times once dead so I am with Stasia, but I know also what it means living a controlled existence like Brilka does because of traumatic events; I know what it meant to search for the approval and love of other people, committing errors because we all would want to be loved. I know what it means having dreams; as everyone I see phantoms and shadows of the past.

The author is spectacularly divine. If at first I didn't understand the meaning of the cup of chocolate, because I personally thought that curses happen, later I understood; with Brilka I understood what it means breaking a curse, starting something new, not cursed, but blessed, real, and happy! And I felt joy! 

I didn't tell you all the stories, I know that these character will stay with you forever. This one is a book that will surely end in our reread list of books! 

Highly recommended!

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book. 

Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, ottobre 14, 2020

La Perla Nera by Lisa Marklund

La Perla Nera

by Liza Marklund is a new, intense, stunning new book  by Marsilio. It will leave you breathless for many reasons. There is a plot, in fact, fantastic, and there is an universe, in general how the system works, in particular the one of the banks that will leave you with many questions. 

We are in Manihiki, an island in the Pacific disappeared because of a hurricane, Matini on November 1 1997; apart few portions of the islands, some churches and the families like the one of Kiona who are still working with the black pearls, nothing else is remained as it was before the arrival of Matini.

Kiona lives in the island with extreme simplicity and without the modernity of our places. She works the Black Pearls of oysters and in this business is involved her entire family.

The fatidic day that would have changed the existence of Kiona life was tranquil like any other day of the year, when a white man from Sweden was saved from the asperity of an element like an Ocean that can be friendly but also mortal.

Everyone started to be affectionate at this man, Erik. He will recover falling in love, reciprocated with Kiona. As you will see he will also be helpful in the activity! In the while Kiona and Erik starts to build their family. 

Then, one day, from Erik's past someone will return to search for him.

Kiona honestly didn't know anything of the past of Erik. She knew that he worked in a bank but she didn't insist a lot about what it was about.

Erik will leave there a little case plenty of money...

And it's in this moment that Kiona is forced to leave her comfort zone, flying in four continents, searched from ugly and heartless men, discovering more about his Erik but also more about the avidity of people.

It is surprising the changement of this girl, from a little corner of the world, plenty of ingenuity catapulted in a diversfied existence, more close to the one of Erik, populated of dangers; she will sort out problems with a cold spirit and like a secret agent.

Admirably beauty, I highly recommend this book!

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Je Ne Vis Que Pour Toi by Emmanuelle De Boysson

 Back to Paris at the beginning of 1900. A Paris populated by excellences in art and literature, but, more, Je Ne Vis
Que Pour Toi by Emmanuelle De Boysson the love story between Valentine and Natalie-Clifford-Barney. 

Valentine was a country-girl who, born in Bretagne, and arrived to Paris, can't resist at the temptation of marrying Antoine, a man in love with her, who could open her the best places in Paris for trying to publish her writings. When Antoine reveal her who are his friends, in particular Marcel Proust, Valentine understands that in front of her there is a man of culture, surely with great contacts in the cultural parisienne environment. Valentine in fact, adored writing and wanted some visibility. 

Antoine loves her and her robust approaches persuades the girl that this one is the best person she can find around; she starts to write him inflammated letters of her supposed love. Her parents tried to arrange for her another marriage, with another boy, but Antoine would have made the difference for Valentine, because it would have meant a best social condition and the introduction in cultural circles in grade to make the difference: the aristocratic society of Paris was a succulent idea for a country-girl. 

Marcel Proust during that years had lost the father and then the mother and, as everyone  know suffered of a strong asthma; he tried to be as social as possible but with all the risks that this sociality would have meant for his lungs when too cold.

During an event, the following days of their marriage, Antoine introduces Valentine to Colette and Colette introduces Valentine to Natalie-Clifford-Barney. 

Natalie was a wealthy lady born in the USA, who abandoned the country soon considering the puritan atmosphere breathed in the USA. Paris was much more liberal also with sexual orientations and no one cared who was the partner of another person, if someone of different or same sex.

Valentine, when firstly saw her, thought that she lookedlike the Femme aur Miroir painted by Titian but firstly to her "émane quelque chose d’inexprimable qui ressemble à un défi" transmitted something inexpressible and similar to a challenge writes the author.

At first the rich American was seen like "très spirituelle" very spiritual. 

Immediately Natalie asks to Valentine if she is there with her husband. Natalie had chosen a different existence, husbands-free, searching for relationships with the same sex.

And in this book we will meet many times the thematic of lesbians and their inability of having children one of the main reasons why their love-stories weren't seen positively, but also their ideas of men in confrontation with them. The thematic of remaining children free another one that you will meet.

 Attracted by the idea of having some chance to see published her writings thanks to her, Valentine accepts to meet that woman again. For a garden party in particular, the first time. Her husband Antoine does not have a great consideration of that woman: she doesn't have a great reputation, better if you don't go, proposes to her wife. But Valentine, in part attracted by that lady, in part because of the necessity of proposing her works to someone (and in these cases errors can be committed) will go.

The court of Nat will continue, and only later, in another moment, in another day, when substantially Valentine was there for writing down something with Nat, there will be the topic moment in which their relationship jump solidly at another more profound and physical level.

This love-story will be lived by the two partners with respective moments of strong jealousy.

Nat will try to understand why her partner Valentine loved Antoine and the kid, and Valentine, searched once to discover where Nat went with at an event; another time will be curious to understand who is the addressee of some written burning words in a piece of paper she found for case when leaving the house of her lover.

There was tension but also gratification in this relationship. A relationship that, anyway brought at the ruin of Valentine. 

Valentine knew at first that Natalie could be a manipulative person: when still not yet in this relationship, the book is written in first person and Valentine is the superb, narrating voice, she would have wanted to refuse her avances.

Antoine maybe is not a perfect husband it is excluded that Valentine would never leave him; but when the husband discoveres this liaison started many years ago, more or less immediately after their marriage, he won't hesitate asking for the divorce and leaving her with a house and not much more.

We are at the beginning of the First World War at the end of the book.

Beautiful portrait of the french society at the beginning of the XX century, I strongly recommend this book to everyone because it is written with great passion and sentiment.

I thank Emmanuelle De Boysson fot the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 


venerdì, ottobre 09, 2020

Thank you Columbia for Sachiko

 The story the one of two
Japanese Christians set in Nagasaki in a delicate age 1930-1945.

Written by Endo Shusaku a Christian writer, review soon! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Anna Maria Polidori 

Ambassador of Reading!

 I thank so much Club per Voi for this special dedication. Ambassador of Reading.

What does Ambassador of Reading mean to me apart being in this club for a very long time? 

I have always enjoyed reading and when there is a surplus of books in my house, I tend to share them with my friends and neighbors.

Days ago one of our neighbors, 88, a good reader, spent some time with us. We needed to put the wood in the garage for the winter-time. "Did you finish the books I have given you? I have these ones for you. One is about Iceland." 

"Oh, my..." He replied to me all surprised. "Iceland? What a distant land!"

It's in these moments that you enjoyed sharing knowledge. When you know this one is an enrichment for the other one! and a completely appreciated surprise.

Anna Maria Polidori 

domenica, ottobre 04, 2020

Other Moons Vietnamese Short Stories of the American War and Its Aftermath Translated and Edited by Quan Manh Ha amd Joseph Bancock

 I felt an instinctive attraction for Other Moons Vietnamese

Short Stories of the American War and Its Aftermath Translated and Edited by Quan Manh Ha amd Joseph Bancock. Published by Columbia University Press I noticed this book thanks to the Instagram page of the Columbia and I requested it immediately.

Without doubt, it is a true masterpiece of short, but not for this reason, less intense stories; stories made by feelings,  new companions, magic, or shadows.

Vietnam has been a country "assaulted" by close or distant countries, for a long time and everytime the country forgave the enemies and tried to goes on, because there is nothing to do and because in this way it is possible write new pages.

These stories are about the War against the USA, a conflict that, I started to know much better in all its multiples faces when I met two beautiful people from Memphis, aunt Bobbie and uncle Don. We are not blood related but, that ex war Vietnam veteran and his wife entered in my heart. Uncle Don suffered of the Agent Orange and died for complications caused by this chemical substance; during their life, they haven't had children, they adopted two Vietnamese nurses Celine and Josie and Fr. Simon another Vietnamese's priest is always around their house. To me at first everything sounded amazingly weird because the USA fought against Vietnam: later I learnt that the power of love, and the donation to the others, for veterans was the best door for the understanding and for the creation of a healthiest society. Kindness, tenderness, joy, comprehension, desire of putting behind the bad things, keeping the beautiful ones that life can offer. They are great human lessons. 

These short tales are written by writers who, although there is still censorship in Vietnam and there is just a political party, have had access to beautiful translation of books written in the Western part of the world: USA, France, UK, Italy and so on and so they have a different approach regarding writing and what they want to communicate. These tales are classics ones in the Vietnamese culture but it is the first time that they are translated in english. I know that you will find each of them a precious gem.

Some examples of what you will find: there is the story of Lu, a dog survived at the terrible death of a kid. A vietnamese soldier saved the dog and although keeping this dog for this soldier and his mates was a sacrifice and sounded impossible, not only he did it, but he/they received great help from him! in various occasions.

The story maybe touched me the most was the one of two teachers. One of them not yet anymore young didn't mind of finding someone but she admonished the other one: here you won't find any man suitable for you.

The girl didn't think all the time at this option. The other teacher was supersticious. "Close the door or the spirits of the dead ones, still not yet fine will visit you." Once it happened and two months later from the episode, the girl discovered that she had met a dead soldier vacating in this world, and still peaceless...

White Clouds Flying is the story of a mom who lost his son and that during a flying  re-created a human shrine for him.

Birds in Formation tells the story of a lady still feeling the past, a grandma with some memory-loss and a son not respected by other for some reasons. 

The Corporal tells the story of a Mr.Buong and her daughter Xuan. Xuan was a strong peasant girl and the father was worried because maybe, not being particularly attractive, she wouldn't never found anyone. At least she did but the union hasn't been at all particularly happy.

Red Apples is a short tale about the damage of war, the physical one but also the internal wounds brought by people. It remembered me a story told in the book by Nina Haratischwili The Eighth Life

For Brilka.

In this case a pianist girl in love for Chopin is searching for a husband and this boy, who had fought in the war and had seen this world and the other introduces himself to her. She was wearing a pair of glasses and she lived with her granny. She asked him if she could offer him red apples, offering of peeling them. When she tries, she injures herself and the ex soldier will discover various truths and a beautiful soul. Tender.

In The Most Beautiful Girl in the Village the story of a wonderfullly beauty girl courted by everyone, but waiting just a man in the front.

Once the war is over she is an adult woman of 35 and she goes in several hospitals for searching for him when in a museum she notices her own picture, taken by the body of a fallen soldier.

She re-meets in a hospital where she previously searched for his adoring man an injured one. "You are looking for someone that is already lost, and therefore ireeplaceable, and I am waiting for someone who doesn't event exist" says her. Later they will become lovers but the end not the happiest one under some aspects...

War is a short tale that will let you think. The husband of a  newly married couple, left the house for going to war. After ten years he returned home discovering that the wife was pregnant. He asked for explanations but the wife insisted that she copulated once with him. The man didn't understand, believe and forgive her. As also written in the tale, this episode, in comparison, inconfrontation with a war  is a nothing, but from a nothing can descend a hate and a grudge extremely intense. A war without weapons the one fought by this family as the writer remarks.

There are two short tales I read about Agent Orange. The first is tender; there are two kids, in a village; since they were little, they were incredibly connected. These two children grew up and they continued to feel the same sentiments, but once, when at the university the boy became very cold with the girl and the girl couldn't explain the reason for this behavior. Destroyed, she married another man; they tried to have, without success, children. Later, they divorced forced by several events and people, and the girl returned to her native country where his old boyfriend was still living....

In Storms a new agent orange story. One of the children of this family is called Hoa Binh, Peace, but the poor girl didn't bring peace to his family and in particular to the internal wounds of his father, still hallucinated for what he saw and still suffering internally and externally pains; in particular the father passed to the daughter the Agent Orange, a chemical substance that sometimes is also cause of infertility and many many other sad illnesses.

Love and War is an incredible strong strong short tale about war and how it leaves body and soul but in this case the author firmly writes that he hates all the countries that moved war to his country. Not only: "I also hate who have never gone to war with our country but plan to in the future."

Beautiful book, you will be gently be transported in a distant land, with different customs, tasting tender, compassion, discovering several typologies of wounds, a differrent narration more plain and more poetic than not the western one and stories that will remain in your heart. 

The cover is spectacular!

Highly recommended. 

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

sabato, ottobre 03, 2020

Cose da Ragazze Una guida Gioiosa alla Pubertà by Nina Brochmann and Ellen Stokken Dahl

 Cose da Ragazze Una g

uida Gioiosa alla Pubertà by Nina Brochmann and Ellen Stokken Dahl is the most wonderful book I have ever read about puberty. 

Nothing is left apart and the book is pretty clear in every aspect, from the knowledge of the body with all the mutations of the case, passing through menstruations and what kind of tampons, external or internal to use, passing through genre and possibility of loving people of the same sex. It is taken in consideration the third genre as well and children, is explained, sometimes are also born in couples of the same sex, single mothers, thanks to special treatments.

What is love, what is sex, what it means becoming pregnant, and what it is a sexual act; masturbation, sexual violence, why it is important denouncing it, the internet and naked pictures, what to do; pre-mestrual syndrome and how to avoid it; menstruations and their periodicity; gym during "that days" and more, in a fresh, educative, explicative book that won't never let you feel alone or misunderstood.

Highly recommended!

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori