“We didn’t apply for this fellowship; we didn’t even know that it existed […] Nine months ago we got a letter from the American Academy of Arts and Letters saying my work had been nominated by an anonymous committee. Four months later we got a letter saying we had won.”
Antony Doerr, an American writer, finds himself and his family (a wife and two new born twins) in Rome, for a year. He’s paid to work on his new novel, he’s paid to live four seasons in Rome; and at the end of this experience he goes home and, collecting all his notes, feelings, memories, he presents this delicate and pleasant book. He tells us about all the pitfalls of living in a foreign country, not knowing the language, not sharing the same habits, costumes … but he also shares with the reader the wonder of seeing for the first time unique and renowned monuments and landmarks of Rome.
I was born in Rome, I have crossed the streets he describes thousands of times, and yet, reading his book, in this virtual wandering, I kind of stopped and looked at the Pantheon, St. Peter’s columns, Bernini’s fountains with a totally different eye.
I must say I got jealous from time to time: I wish I had had the chance to climb the 122 stairs inside Traian’s column, or simply had been given the opportunity to be paid to write!
Four seasons, four types of weather, mood, four ways of living and, sometimes, surviving the Eternal City.
I finished this book and I just long to see Rome again, and look for those places I didn’t even know the existence of…. and I also wonder … if I had had this luck … being paid to go somewhere and work on my new book … where would I like to go?
Southern Hemisphere … definitely: Oceania or Africa; and I wouldn’t mind skipping the changes in the seasons, I would be happy with two.
I haven’t checked my mailbox in a while… who knows … 🙂1 Mi piace