Politics, Memory and Storytelling
From that moment on, I didn’t believe in anything anymore. Camilleri is in his studio, in his usual spot. I can see him, he can barely make out me because his vision has abandoned him in recent times. But his prodigious memory, his quick wit and his storytelling abilities have not abandoned him. The women in his life (his wife, his three daughters) are around him today too. One enters, another exits, and the one that had exited before returns. They take care of him, cuddle him. And he says: “If a woman does not cuddle me, I get upset, I’m too used to it. Always. When I was already married to Rosetta and we had already had three children, the two widowed mothers-in-law peacefully coexisted in the apartment next to ours. We also had a maid who had been with us for twenty years, named Italy.
A Dedication to Matilda
Four years ago, another “woman” entered the family, the first granddaughter. Her name is Matilda, she is the daughter of Alessandra who is the daughter of Andreina, the eldest. The book Ora dimmi di te, which will be released on August 29, is dedicated to Matilda, who is four years old. It is not a novel, but a sort of autobiography of Camilleri, in the form of a letter to the little girl. The great-grandfather tells of his childhood in Sicily, Italy under fascism, ’68, the year he occupied the Accademia d’arte drammatica di Roma with the students, theater and television and, of course, the birth of Montalbano. Is Matilda the only great-granddaughter? “No, for eight months she also has a brother who was named after me, Andrea. But she gave him a different name: Foglia. So, for now, we all call him Foglia”.
The Fame of Montalbano
Did he expect to become a great-grandfather? “No. At 40, 50 years old I thought I would never get to 2000, this science fiction date”. And to get there in this way! Over a hundred books, translations into 37 countries, a notoriety that few writers have. “At the market my wife has often heard this sentence: ‘Look, that’s Mrs. Camilleri, Montalbano’s wife! Montalbano is a national monument. “Indeed, sometimes someone writes to me: you must stop lending your political ideas to Montalbano. Montalbano is ours and he no longer belongs to you.”