Songwriter, illustrator, wood craftsman, cultural communicator, Valeria Tron is one of the most interesting voices from patois, the language of our mountains bordering France, an Occitan alpine variant, which is one of the many manifestations of the language Oc, the language of the Troubadours: it makes resistance in Val d ‘ Aran, in the Spanish Pyrenees, in southern France and in some Piedmontese valleys, including Val Germanasca. And it is precisely this world that he tells in The balance of fireflies (Salani), his literary debut and already a case. An elegy of small things, a testimony of beauty whose protagonist is Adelaide, who after the end of a love story returns to the rugged mountains to re-establish her connection with the fate of the Waldensian people, among whom she had spent childhood. Waiting for the house’s last caretaker, 90-year-old Nanà, along with a snowstorm that isolates the two women for fourteen days between walls that smell of wood and firewood.
“The path is almost impassable. I have to cling to the balustrades and corners of the houses so as not to slip on the ice that lies under the fresh snow. My father would have laughed at seeing me so clumsy. It is completely quiet.” It almost seems to be there, at the pass to Adelaide, in the quiet and cold (these days longed for): “I am the first to go down to the end of the village for a while; no footsteps, if not a few birds in the window sills. Next to the stables the stones have forgotten the smell of manure “.
The house, which once upon a time there was peace and warmth, now it’s loneliness and cold. “I spit on the key and it turns in the pawl. The stench of onions and dung overwhelms me. I go down into the woodshed, load two suitcases and take them on dry land. Within minutes, the stove is turned on and aired out from 6 p.m. the air ducts of the fireplace, syncopated and tight breath. On the sink a spider and a fly made a bug, the dust embraced them tightly “. One feels the urge to follow Adelaide, so as not to lose sight of her for a moment, between the bedroom, where “the frost knocked on the glass, drew acanthus scrolls” and the bathroom, also cold and deserted: “From vaulted knots of Lime dangling, and the water from the toilet is a broken trickle. ”
“There’s nothing here waiting for me, absolutely nothing,” is the protagonist’s bitter deliberation at the beginning of the story, just as she fears ending “embarrassed in the pond of memory” and appears remorseful for having returned. the way home: “I imagine that just like me, all objects in space feel the same sense of loss.”
Then comes the meeting with Nana, who resists this inaccessible place despite her ninety years.
“Seou counts that you are a meizoun“.
“I’m also happy to be home again.”
The other resident of the place, Levì, fell over by making bundles and was brought to the hospital, leaving the old woman here alone, the last taming of winters. But thanks to Adelaide’s presence, the memory comes alive and stories are intertwined. The two, locked inside the house, recreate through the word old ties that seemed to have been dormant forever. You can not remove the eyes from these lines, where each image has the contours of a poem, each passage reveals a sweet mystery that not even the snow cover has been able to erase forever and trace a library of stories which reminds us how we all make mistakes when we fall into the temptation “to regard a man as a single creature, especially the places where life affects the landscape to the point that it becomes an integral and irreplaceable part”. Because “every life has a tight belt a carousel of ropes stretched towards the houses and in each a verse to be added to the others, to transform existences into a canon to be resumed at the right time. “To unravel calmly and carefully, drink this novel-jewel which is an ode to life. And also to love, after all.
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