Mahlet, a young Ethiopian girl with a gift for storytelling, has a special bond with Yacob, the oldest in her household. When Yacob tells her stories of how he and the other warriors fought in the resistance against the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, Mahlet vows to become the keeper and teller of her family’s stories. From the time of Menelik to the present, Mahlet's long voyage through time and space links thousands of stories between Africa and Europe. Intensely personal, this powerful and beautifully narrated novel tells the story of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia as well as of others around the globe who have suffered under colonialism or have been forcibly exiled from their homelands.
About the Author
Gabriella Ghermandi was born in Addis Ababa and lives in Bologna, Italy. She writes and acts in narrative plays that she produces in Italy and Switzerland. She also conducts creative writing workshops for schools. This is her first novel.
Giovanna Bellesia-Contuzzi is Professor of Italian Language and Literature at Smith College. She is translator, with Victoria Offredi Poletto of Little Mother (IUP, 2011).
Victoria Offredi Poletto is Senior Lecturer in Italian Emerita at Smith College.
Table of Contents
List of Amharic Words and Expressions
The Flower of the Month
The Saturday Market!
The First Day of Work
At Legesse’s Shop
The First Celebration of Timket in the Capital
The Chaos before the Calm
Return to Debre Zeit
The Story of the Stupid Lion and the Monkey
The Story of Abbaba Igira Salo
Farisa Alula, the Great
The Turtle Lady’s Story
The Story of Woizero Bekelech and Signor Antonio
What People are Saying About This
Gabriella Ghermandi is part of an increasingly larger group of so-called Italian 'migrant writers' coming from Africa, Asia, and Latin America who, since the early 1990s, have contributed to Italian culture and language . . . though their input has not been without contention within Italian academia and its canons.
Gabriella Ghermandi is one of the authors most invested in exploring the postcolonial dimension of contemporary Italian multiculturalism, and she is to my knowledge the only one who has taken on Italy's occupation of Ethiopia as the subject of fiction.