Jun 11, 2008

Note from Camilla on her Trip to Rome - A Homecoming

Camilla writes:

Tomorrow I leave for Rome where I lived and worked for seventeen years. I go every year to see family, friends, to reconnect with my Italian self.

This year is different. My book, The Price of Silence, has been translated into Italian. My heart started dancing when I found out and hasn’t stopped. I’m half Italian (on my father’s side) and half American and living in one country and then the other, I have always felt split in two. Now I’m whole thanks to this book, to my words being in both languages. I feel such joy. Yes, it’s wonderful to have the book sold to another country. The money is nice and it’s flattering. One can hope it will sell well, hope royalties will come in. That’s all true and I’m not denying that it’s part of my joy, but there’s so much more. Jeffrey, a friend of mine, put it in a nutshell. “It’s a homecoming,” he said.

I’m spending a week in Rome to catch up with everyone.

Then off to Florence on the 19th for what the Italians call a "book presentation" during which a well-known author will introduce me and chat with me about the books.

My translator, Erika Bianchi, is from Florence and she’s promised me she’ll fill the bookshop, which is great. I’ve sat behind a desk in too many bookstores waiting and chatting with the staff. Afterwards we’re going to go off with her friends to a nearby bar for a glass of wine and some delicious munchies. After a few days in Florence I’m going back to Rome for more family and friends and one more presentation.

Then back to New York and my next story.

Erika Bianchi, the translator-she’s great, a redhead with the most enormous blue eyes I’ve ever seen. She’s a classics professor who teaches American students during their junior year abroad and in summer programs. I got a chance to meet her here in New York when she came to visit her best friend, who just happens to live a few blocks from me in Greenwich Village. Erika’s translation is lovely. Not once did I miss my English sentences. I felt as if I had written them, as if the story had been conceived in Italian. I still speak the language well (fluently when I left 28 years ago), but the only Italian school I went to was kindergarten with the nuns. My writing is filled with errors, with Americanisms. I’m lucky that the Italian publisher, Marcos y Marcos hired Erika.

But then the transformation of The Price of Silence into Il prezzo del silenzio has been filled with luck. I’m riding high right now. And even if the book sells only modestly I’ll still have the sensation that the two sides of me have finally come together. And I’ll still be happy. Maybe it doesn’t make much sense, but it’s given me an ecstatic feeling I’m not going to cross examine.