AOTD: Ornela Vorpsi, The Country Where No One Ever Dies

“One of these pictures in particular used to fascinate me. It continued to attract my attention even after I’d studied every inch of it–the interplay of light and shade, the way the veil my mother wore was draped around her hair, the palpable excitement of the big day, which seemed to have made her lose her composure.

It’s the custom in our country for a bride to shed a few tears at her wedding, to show how distraught she is at leaving her mother and father. This is the way we get married: wailing, as we did at birth.

Over time, a brown stain began to appear on the photo, covering my mother’s face from her right eye to her temple, and, eventually, the rest of her. This was from the dampness in the closet. It upset me, because it made Mother look sick and depressed. Every time I thought about it, I’d burst into tears, imagining the day her hair would go gray.”

–Excerpt from Il paese dove non si muore mai by Ornela Vorpsi, 2005. Translated by Robert Elsie and Janice Mathie-Heck as The Country Where No One Ever Dies, Dalkey Archive Press, 2009, page 13.

 

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