Here is the English translation of the Mangialibri interview with Camilla Trinchieri that was posted earlier in this blog.
Interview with Camilla Trinchieri by David Frati of Mangialibri
I:A wound, something painful, is hidden behind the story you tell in The Price of Silence. Maybe more than one. Which one do you identify with—the wound coming from An-Ling’s childhood or the one Emma, the protagonist, bears as a mother filled with guilt?
C:My wound is more like An-ling’s, than Emma’s. I too didn’t have a mother. That’s my starting point, even for the lighter stories, the ones you can leave on a seat at the airport. I decided to start writing January 1st, 1986 .I remember that I came home with an idea in my head and I told my husband, “Do you mind if tonight you make dinner?” I wanted to write the story of my mother, but I needed to do a lot of research. I was born in Prague and it was still communist then. To obtain a visa took at least eight months. I would have had to wait without writing, but friends dissuaded me [from stopping] and I decided to write other stories in the meantime. I was working in an advertising agency at the time and my boss refused to give me a raise. I decided to write a novel in which he was murdered. That was the beginning of seven mysteries starring Simona Griffo, an Italian (the reviewer says Italian-American but he’s wrong), who loves art and cooking. They were published under the pseudonym of Camilla Crespi. At a certain point I said stop and decided to use my real name for this story, which isn’t autobiographical.
I: The novel has been translated from English into Italian, a language that you speak and write. What effect did it have on you to be translated in a language that you understand so well? It’s not something that happens everyday to a writer…
C: Having Erika Bianchi translate me into Italian was an incredible joy. I felt myself Italian and American at the same time; I felt whole. It was such a natural process that at a certain point I began to think that the book had even been thought in Italian. Only a few times did I have difficulties understanding a few convoluted passages, but then the original English would disappear and I found myself reading my book. It felt as if the translator no longer existed, that I had done everything.
I: Do you define The Price of Silence a legal thriller? What role does the trial have in your novel?
C: The trial wasn’t in the first draft. I thought of including it to help guide me through the story, but I asked myself: what do I know about trails? It just so happened that I was chosen to be part of a jury in a real trial, and seeing how the American judicial system worked ‘from the inside’ helped me pull it off. It wasn’t a murder trial, however. A guy had stolen $70,000 dollars from his sister.
I: What writers do you look to as reference points?
C: Henry James more than anyone else, even though when I first read him I found his spiraling narration heavy-going. Only when I started writing did I understand that he only hints at things. He never describes a situation openly. He circles around facts; he doesn’t reveal them. For my formation as a reader and a writer, Agatha Christie and all the mystery classics were also very important.
[David Frati-translated by Camilla Trinchieri]