Meeting in Positano by Goliarda Sapienza

 

Meeting in Positiano by Goliarda Sapienza

Italian fiction

Original title – Appuntamento a Positano

Translator – Brian Robert Moore

Source – review copy

I move to Italy and a book by Goliarda Sapienza a piece of auto-fiction set on the Amalfi coast. Sapienza starts her life in a small Italian town before moving to Rome to study at the academy of dramatic arts. She then had a successful career as an actress as firstly in Pirandello plays then as a film star, which is how she meets the main character in this book as they were scouting locations for a film. She then concentrated in her later life on her writing she had a number of works published her life but what is considered her masterpiece the art of Joy was published after she died as at the time it was written the female character was considered to unrestrained in her life.

Everyone was held spellbound as she walked down the strps to the dock where a skiff waited for her to push out to sea. Or when upon her return, at no later than one o’clock. Nocola – the son of Lucibello, called the monkey, the oldest and most audacious ex-fishermen in Positano, who like the rest of them had switched to renting beach umbrella and lungersx – helped her down from the boat, and with admiring eyes followed her steps on the carpet of wooden planks which made a snug living room of the ancient , rocky bay.

Every time, Nicola was left breathless by that “Thank You” barely whispered from two harmoniously shaped lips, perhaps too full to be perfect. The teenage boy couldn’t help but stareuntil she went out of view, slightly hurrying up the large steps through the feverish and bustling crowd, the men all in trunks, the women ion their beach outfits, too colorful to bear the contrast with her sober sarong o her trouser pants.

The opening shows the power this mystrious women “the princess ” whart caused her sorrow .

The book starts in late 1940 when Goliarda scouting for a filming location take her to the small town of Positano and the princess a woman of mystery to all those that live in the town Goliarda connected with this older woman and what started in a friendship that lasts over thirty years and what we have here is the story of these two women growing closer over the years as the story of Erica life from her family that had been nobles hence the people of Positano calling her the Princess. A sorrowful life of love in various forms from a lover that she never had  Ricardo she wants him to love her but he never did so she then fell into a marriage with Leopoldo a connection of her father that turns out to be a controlling man that stifles Erica. What we have is a sketch of a life that is weighted down with regrets and mistakes all set against the beauty of the Amalfi coast and also the changes in post-war Italy.

The next morning, obeying her enticing command as if it had come from a goddess- and trying at the same time to laugh at my childin=sh side always straved of fairy tales – I push open the heavy, dark curtains and then the light muslin drapes tinted gold by the sunruse. The french doors of crisp glass open onto a terrace completely covered in red flowers that have fallen from a bougainvillea. My bar feet slide happily on the terra-cotta floor. I’ll stop wearing shoe, too, I think with conviction , even if it’ll make me come accross as a real positanese snob like her .

Her  freiend had a real air about her another suimmer spent in positano

This is another of that rediscovered writer that we have seen a lot in recent years from Natalie Ginzburg, Tove Ditlevsen strong female writers that deserve a wider audience, and here is another on that vein. I want to read Art of Joy when it came out as it sounds like a great read so when I was offered this I decide to try this out and I was right this is a simple story of a friendship. of a woman that had a life so different from the writer of the book but also as the story of her life unfolds The Princess grows close to this modern woman Erica that is what is so great and real in this is how different the two women are it is a story of two women who if not for chance would have never met but then they form a thirty-year bond. Maybe if you missing a certain Italian writer here is a book that could fill the Ferrante gap a sun drench tale of two women from different worlds. A great rediscovery from an interesting writer that sadly died over twenty years ago.

Winstons score – -A  The tale of two women is tounching.

May 2021
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