Looking At The Other
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Rosella Clavari and Giulia De Martino (African Literature Association)
Anna Fresu's island origins shine through this collection of stories that impose a look at the "forgotten people of the world".Sardinian "Saudade" perhaps even before the Portuguese one, where her personal life had encountered before reaching Mozambique where she has lived for 11 years. It was in that distant land, a battered by the war land, where she engaged in humanitarian aid through social projects in education and culture like literacy, theater, music and dance. It is original the overlap of the childhood on the Sardinia island, the green and blue sea that opens to mysterious and painfully attractive spaces, the sailor father, the tireless storyteller mother with African and South American characters situations.
An empathy for the land and the African people that translates into the ability to sum up a life in the life of each and every one of us, including its own; to be reflected in the solitude of the one who passes you by or of the person you meet all mornings. They are different lives, but they share a destiny of marginalization, of violated childhoods, eternal love stories or those that never started, soliloquies seeking dialogue. The protagonists are also men, but mostly women, who face the adversities of life with the innocence of those who become mother even before becoming a woman, with the dignity of those who, trampled, leverages its inner forces. The stories unfold in short and rhythmic periods or melt in a bitter and disenchanted chronicle, mixing myths and old stories told by elderly villagers to glimpses of everyday life. Here then emerge miserable interiors of houses with can roofs, adorned with lush gardens and flower gardens, plastic shoes and poor clothing, washed and re-washed till they fall apart only to maintain a dignified decorum of the person, tiring hours of work in the fields or factories, wiped out villages and environments destroyed to make way for corporate interests, semi-colonial attitudes held by foreign aid workers, especially against women.
But peer out even large rooms and crowded cafes where you can drink, dance and listen to music, views and stunning colors, seas and undertows that sing their eternal song.
The author travels with her writing between Italy, Africa and Argentina, the land that currently hosts her. The theme of the "South of the world" is also present in the form of "South of the moving world " from the places of origin to lands of wealth: here the Pakistani greengrocer appears, the African girl that ran away from the poisons of the massive cultivation of roses in Kenya, but also a humble Sardinian man who spends time on the benches pretending to read the newspaper, who returned to Italy after years of emigration to Argentina to seek his fortune, and where the xenophobic attitude of some Italian results incomprehensible to him. A harsh and sad world but a world in which poetry always lived in and marked the literary and theatrical skills of our writer. Hers is a poetic prose that can translate into images the discomfort of the "forgotten", the poor rich only in hope, of those who know how to live and wait, of the disappointed people who consider their own life no longer tolerable. The collection sees in the recent stories the existential experience of the author to prevail: the illness, death, the figure of the dead mother evoked with sadly consolatory accents, the image of the personification of death with the traits of so much imaginative visionary literature and opera dear to the writer.