La casa del tè
“I think that after the passing of an unhappy love, or after a breathtaking blow, one should simply get up and be proud of his scars. The wound becomes a medal of courage, our way of shouting to the world that we have learned to stand strong.”
Gabriel is a boy in love with words, especially those that are impossible to translate into other languages – like the Japanese Wabi sabi, which expresses the authenticity of imperfection, or like iktsuarpok, by which the Inuit of the Arctic mean the restlessness of checking to see if someone is coming over the horizon. Unique and lonely words, as only Gabriel feels when his grandmother, with whom he lived, dies. Confused and lost, he is taken into the foster home of Mrs. Michiko in a historic neighborhood of Rome. He thus finds himself living under the same roof with girls and boys marked by irreparable histories, such as little Leo, like Chiara, who knows stars but not love, or Greta, always focused on texting on her cell phone, like the menacing Scar and Amina, with her unspeakable experience of migration. Michiko follows her young guests, mending their holey days with cups of steaming tea, patient dialogues, stories of faraway countries: small words and gestures that restore the grandeur of the universe. Outside is the world they know, chaotic, unfair, sometimes violent, but in the Japanese lady’s house they are sheltered. Until one day that harmony is broken, and the boys suddenly feel more orphaned than before. It hurts, but it is short-lived: they soon discover that they can trust each other, that they know how to make a family. It is the beginning of a search through the streets of Rome and within themselves, where each puts their intuition, their qualities to good use – and brings their wounds out into the open. An exciting debut novel, full of curiosity and knowledge, from which to learn with grace and kindness.