Michela Marzano
Einaudi Stile Libero Big
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Alessandra is a biologist who teaches in Paris, where she lives with Pierre. For years she has not gone to Salento, the place where she was born and which she left after a dramatic event, because she cannot come to terms with the shadows of her family. When Annie, Pierre’s elderly mother, is admitted to a clinic because she is gradually losing her memory, Alessandra is forced to question everything. Who are we when whole pieces of our lives slip away? What is left of us? Emptying out her mother-in-law’s house, which is to be put up for sale, Alessandra enters the universe of this 1940s stenographer, and slowly rebuilds her everyday life, as if it were the only way to know who she was, now that dismantling Annie seems to have become someone else. In her relationship with her, more intimate every day, Alessandra feels after a long time like a daughter again, and suddenly childhood words and memories she had stifled resurface. It is thanks to idda, to Annie, that she can now face them, returning to where it all began. One must go through the rubble, recover one’s history, to discover that love survives oblivion.

“The doctor said that the only phrase that never disappears is “I love you”; it is the one her patients choose when she asks them to write down on a piece of paper the phrase they prefer, even though they remember nothing more of their own existence. It’s as if only love can still keep them alive.”