Product Description & Reviews
Hailed by The New York Times as “a natural-born storyteller,” the acclaimed author of Rules of the Wild gives us nine incandescently smart stories, funny, elegant, and poignant by turns, that explore the power of change—in relationships, in geographies, and across cultures—to reveal unexpected aspects of ourselves. Taking us to Venice during film festival season, where a woman buys a Chanel dress she can barely afford; to a sun-drenched Greek village at the height of the summer holidays, where a teenager encounters the shocks of first love; and to a classical dance community in southern India, where a couple gives in to the urge to wander, these remarkable tales bring to life characters stepping outside their boundaries into new passions and destinies. Enlivened by Francesca Marciano’s wit, clear eye, and stunning evocations of people and places, The Other Language is an enthralling tour de force rich with many pleasures. A Conversation with Francesca Marciano What does your title refer to or signify, and why is this the title of your collection? The Other Language is also the title of the first story of the collection, in which a 12-year-old Italian girl from Rome, in the wake of her mother’s sudden death, falls in love with an English boy with whom she longs to communicate. So she decides to learn his language because she loves him, but also because “one of the many ways to survive the pain buried inside her was to become an entirely different person.” She’s looking, too, for a change in herself. All these stories are in different ways stories about change: transitions—displacements— not only geographical, but emotional as well. What is your experience with “other languages”? What, do you think, happens to you when you speak a language not your native one? The book’s epigraph is from a Derek Walcott poem: “To change your language you must change your life.” Learning a new language is an act of transformation; it means delving into another logic, a new mental construct. We become different people when we speak another language, and that can be exciting, rejuvenating—but often frightening, a bit like walking in the dark. In some way by speaking a new language we commit an act of betrayal towards our mother tongue, our past identity. But we also sometimes can, in moving beyond our comfort zones, find a new kind of freedom, and I think a writer can find great freedom in a language that is not his or her own. Why, as a native Italian speaker, do you write your novels in English? I lived for many years in the States and then in Kenya, so and I have spent half of my adult life speaking English; it has never abandoned me, not even now that I’ve gone back to live in Italy. It has become my truest voice on the page; it allows me to express myself without the constraints and the inhibitions of my native language. I love how direct and concise English can be, compared with the richly convoluted, often ambiguous baroque of Italian. Plus, humor in English is somehow unbeatable. All of the stories in this collection involve some sort of travel and going to spaces out of one’s element where one is a stranger/foreigner. Why do you write so much about travelling and feature so many travelers as protagonists? My life has been quite nomadic, and I find it difficult to call any place “home.” Since I was a child I dreamed of going to live in faraway, exotic places, and that wanderlust, which is also maybe a kind of malaise, still affects me today. Being unmoored from the familiar brings an edge, a sense of vulnerability—which is a feeling I treasure. It’s an excellent state for a writer to be in, as he or she creates something new. And a wonderful feeling to explore. What is your favorite place to travel? To live? I live in Rome now, and I have a love/hate relationship with it. More love than hate, I’ll admit. I’ve lived in New York, too, when I was young, and spent quite a lot of time there. But I left my heart in Kenya and fell in love with New Mexico, where I lived for a short time in my mid-forties, and where I return as often as I can. Nature and wide-open spaces play a very important role for me. I can’t bear to have my feet walking on concrete for too long.
Features & Highlights
|Item Weight:||0.88 pounds|
|Item Size:||1.14 x 9.56 x 9.56 inches|
|Package Weight:||0.9 pounds|
|Package Size:||6 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches|
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