There is a daily encounter that punctuates and renders our life more beautiful, surprising us with the creation of unexpected and wonderful connections: the encounter with food. The destiny of the protagonist in this novel is closely intertwined with the “tasty” dishes that nourish him, from his boyhood in Calabria to the years of his maturity in the North. Food is identity and the mainspring of the story: a passionate coming-of-age tale recounted through the flavors and fragrances that reinforce the author’s ties to his origins, the separation from his homeland, and the thrill of the unknown. In childhood, there were the thirteen Christmas delicacies, dishes prepared days in advance, which signaled his father’s return from Germany and, during adolescence, new appetites to sate with choice literary works that transformed the author into a voracious reader. The eventual emigration to Germany, where he met his future wife, and residency in Trentino – halfway between their countries of origin – brought another dish to prominence: polenta with “nduja”– the perfect synthesis of North and South. In this extraordinary novel, Carmine Abate recounts his bond with the land and the high price exacted, as well as the loves, dreams and rewards of those who experience far away places and flavors. He achieves this creating, line by line, a prodigious harmony between the senses that carries new essences straight to heart and mind.
First published as Il banchetto di nozze e altri sapori in 2016 by Mondadori Libri, Metauro now releases this English translation by Joseph A. Tamagni and Alicia Vitti as the second book of the series Oltre ogni confine (Beyond every border) directed by Antonio Carlo Vitti.
Autore e Traduttore
Carmine Abate was born in 1954 in Carfizzi, a small village of the Arbëreshë community in the southern region of Calabria. He grew up speaking Arbëresh, a variant of the Albanian language. At a young age he moved to Hamburg, where his father had previously emigrated. There he taught at a school for immigrants and began publishing his first short stories. In 1984, his first collection of short stories appeared under the title Den Koffer und weg! Having spent more than a decade in Germany, Abate returned to Italy and settled in Besenello in Trentino, where he continues to work as a writer and teacher. Abate has published two short story collections: Il muro dei muri (1993) and Vivere per addizione e altri viaggi (2010), a collection of “poems and prose writings” Terre di andata (1996 and 2011), the essay I germanesi (1986 and 2006) with Meike Behrmann. Several acclaimed novels: Il ballo tondo (1991), La moto di Scanderberg (1999), Il mosaico del tempo grande (2006), Gli anni veloci (2008), La collina del vento (Campiello Prize winning 2012), Il bacio del pane (2013) and La felicità dell’attesa (2015). Two of his award-winning books have been translated into English – Tra due mari (2002) under the English title Between Two Seas, and the novel: La festa del ritorno (2004) as The Homecoming Party. His work has also been translated into French, German, Dutch, Greek, Portuguese, Albanian, Kosovar, Japanese and Arabic.
Joseph Tamagni is a longtime member of the Middlebury Italian School staff and currently serves as Coordinator. He holds an MA in Italian from Middlebury College and a BA in History from the College of New Jersey. Joseph has studied and traveled extensively in Italy and Italian-speaking areas of Switzerland. In addition, he has taught Italian language and culture at the middle school, high school, and college levels.
He is also a freelance writer and filmmaker. Among his filmmaking credits are the direction and editing of the documentary Dal Vate al Saltimbanco (2013, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Centro di Studi “Aldo Palazzeschi”).