This novel is about a girl who is born in December of 1957 in Trieste, that in those years it was a gloomy, fearful city and it was full of hostility towards life, Italy, people. She is born in the middle of a night when an icy bora blows, one of the days with less light of the year.
And this wind seems to blow even in family relationships: a householder completely lost in his businesses and in his selfishness; a mother figure elusive, totally affectless, who treats her children like animals to care for. The girl and her brother are set to grow up seeing a marriage that slowly crumbles in front of their eyes, then suffering the unexpected abandonment of the father and the two subsequent marriages of the mother. This baby lives without that none of the people who are genetically related to her, teaches her the language of love, of affection: sadism and the ‘no love’ are able to dig huge cavity in people.
The protagonist is Susanna Tamaro – famous Italian writer, author of the international bestseller “Follow your heart” –, that during the childhood lives with an enemy within herself, with the darkness, loneliness and emptiness, although in herself is able to perceive the presence of harmony and light, from which, however, she strays more and more.
She grows up with so many questions to ask, but it seems that there’s no one who wants to or can give answers. Her childhood is dictated by insomnia and imaginary monsters that drag her into a vortex of absolute cold, until she becomes a child of ice, apparently strong but in reality fragile, absent and unable to see the good in people that surround her and not even in life.
But the years pass by and time helps to alleviate the sorrows and disappointments: this young woman grows, manages to be reborn, to improve herself, discovering to be a candid soul, in search of any kind of truth and, also, of the beauty of the world.
This novel is the story of a girl who becomes a woman, that finds out the way to reach her heart and then listen to it in silence, patiently.
It’s the story of the pain caused by abandonment and loneliness, but also of the subsequent discovery of joy, of the first jolts of love and of the first bonds of sincere friendship: the man knows a real relationship only through the friendship – sometimes, the similitude between two people is able to combine a lot more than blood ties.
It’s the autobiography of a young woman who finds out the power of books – excellent companions in the path of life, capable of giving comfort in the saddest moments – and of writing: she holds, in fact, a diary since thirty years, because she says it’s the necessary prelude to deal with any other type of writing.
“Writing is a quartering. Quartering of life, that at each instant succumbs to that tyranny, and of reality that appears under our eyes. But, unlike the nihilistic quartering, it is a quartering that makes sense in every instant. Gash to shed some light, not to get confirmation of darkness”, says the writer in one of the pages of this fascinating book.
Susanna Tamaro recounts herself without any filter, in an intimate and vital way, making this narrative a hymn to life and its beauty, regardless of its darkness.