Listen to My Voice
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First published with the title Ascolta la mia voce in 2006 by RCS Libri S.p.A., Milan
Marta is raised by her grandmother in her house in Trieste, a safe haven of stories, books and enchantment. She knows that her mother died when she was young, and she believes that her father is a Turkish prince. But, as she grows older and this fairy tale disintegrates, Marta feels only anger towards her grandmother for withholding information about her parents.
When her grandmother dies, Marta is alone in the world. One day, in the dusty attic, she finds a box belonging to her mother which may help to uncover her own past. With clues found in her mother's journal and a worn photograph, Marta decides to track down her father, who she believes may still be alive. Feeling the need to escape her grandmother's house, which is populated by secrets, Marta embarks on a journey to Israel, seeking what is left of her mother's family in an attempt to make sense of where she came from.
Written as a young woman's narrative addressed to the memory of her grandmother, Listen to My Voice...
Get closer . . . listen . . . ’ But apart from the three or four parishioners who didn’t budge from his side, the group seemed to pay him little attention and showed greater interest in the place’s potential as a playground. The boldest of them, in fact, kicked off their shoes and waded into the lake, noisily splashing one another like a bunch of kids. Scattered persons immortalised the scene with the most sophisticated and technologically advanced systems of visual reproduction. They focused, filmed, and photographed without ever removing their eyes from their cameras.
From dawn to sunset, I moved about as if I were an ambulatory volcanic cone. There was direct contact between my heart and the molten core, without the relief of meanders or vents or blind alleys; the incandescent magma heaved inside me, rising and falling in an irregular rhythm and sometimes spilling over, like water from a brimming container. When I was ten or eleven or twelve years old, I could still sit beside you on the sofa and read a book, but by the time I was thirteen, my impatience started to show, and at fourteen the only story I really wanted to know anything about was my own.
You should order the brodetto con la polenta,’ he suggested. ‘No, I’d rather have the fried calamari. ’ While we waited, they brought us some antipasti and a bottle of white wine. It was the first time I’d ever seen him eat. I figured he’d treat his food, like everything else, with sovereign detachment; to my great surprise, however, he devoured everything greedily, with lowered head and swift fingers, as though he’d been fasting for a while. Until then, he’d never asked me to tell him anything about myself and my life.
Arik described for his father the most recent exploits of his little twins, mysteriously adding that soon he’d have another piece of good news to share with him, but he wanted to wait until his wife arrived. Then he mentioned something about his sister, whom he’d met a week earlier in Beersheba; whereupon Uncle Jonathan said sadly, ‘If I didn’t call her, I wouldn’t talk to her. She never calls me. ’ ‘She’s too caught up in her work,’ Arik replied promptly. ‘She never stops. She’s convinced her task is to save humanity.
She says the bora’s blowing ferociously – it’s cracked the trunk of a tree in the garden. ‘Why would I care about that? ’ I say and hang up. I know very well that this is just one of her ways of controlling me. 13 October First class. The lecture theatre’s full, I get here late, and I have to stand the whole time. The professor’s an old guy with a reputation as a fascist. While he’s speaking, there’s a lot of tension in the air. Balls of wadded-up paper fly from one part of the hall to another. When, at the end, he explains the lecture schedule, a group of students rise to their feet and start hissing and whistling, joined by a large number of the others.