Acqua Dolce – a clean&contemporary fairy-tale for young solo readers

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ACQUA DOLCE by Andrea Bouchard, published in the Italian by Adriano Salani Editore.

ACQUA DOLCE … the water baby, is a heart-warming and magically realistic tale about a girl born in the magical waters of an enchanted island in an exotic, faraway land when her father and pregnant mother jump out of a plane into the bewitching waters below. True to the tradition of tragicomic opening scenes, the mum’s parachute doesn’t open leaving her hurtling – tummy and all – towards the sea, and magically, on landing she finds that the sea is not salty, it is fresh water. Ergo Acqua Dolce, the beautiful, blue-eyed water baby, born – as if by miracle – in the fresh water.

Acqua Dolce  by Andrea Bouchard

Acqua Dolce
by Andrea Bouchard

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A touching tale about a boy, his grandfather and a cherry tree

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In my previous  post, I wrote about Il Baffo del Diavolo by Sergio Marciani, a story of hidden forces – the devil in disguise – pulling the strings of society and the administration of local government in a small corner of Abruzzo. From a light-hearted opening featuring children’s games and storytelling around an old oak tree, the tree itself becomes a symbol of something more sinister. Chopped down to serve the wily workings of political minds, or perhaps as the author suggests, the evil intentions of darker forces, the fate of the tree reflects the illness affecting society at large.

mio_nonno_era_un_ciliegioBut in keeping with the yin and yang approach to life and literature that I love so much, I like to think that for every dark force we encounter, if you keep looking there’ll be happier times just round the corner. So after I read about Sergio Marciani’s tree falling prey to the Prince of Darkness in Il Baffo Del Diavolo, I immediately thought about another story – Angela Nanetti’s Il Mio Nonno era Un Ciliegio – a children’s story by the Pescara-based author in which a tree brings joy and light into a little boy’s life.
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Italian books in translation

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There’s lots of life in Italian literature and I’ve decided to bring little nuggets of Italian Literary Life and tips on great Italian books to anyone who enjoys reading in Italian or who would like to help me make my case for some of the chosen texts to be translated into English!

I’m finding Italian fiction pretty exciting at the moment, it’s gotten much more reader-friendly and some fantastic books are making it into translation (for big people see The Parrots (I Pappagalli) and How I lost the War (Come Ho Perso la Guerra) by Filippo Bologna,Enchantment (Incanto) by Pietro Grossi, or the riotious social satire Let the Games Begin (Che la Festa Cominci) by Niccolo’ Ammaniti. For little people there’s the great new Save the Storyseries by Pushkin Children’s featuring some great Italian authors like Alessandro Baricco (withThe Story of Don Juan) and others due out in 2014 (watch this space for children’s stories from Andrea Camilleri, Stefano Benni and a great favourite of mine, Melania Mazzucco). And not forgetting the Marsh award-winner In the Sea there are Crocodiles (Nel mare ci sono i coccodrilli. Storia vera di Enaiatollah Akbari) by Fabio Geda and translated by Howard Curtis.

Being a budding literary translator, I’m obviously always on the lookout for a great wee story that deserves to make it out of Italian and into English, so it can reach a wider public. And if I just so happened to be the one to take on this momentous but fundamentally –  and absolutely necessary of course – task, then that would be just lovely too. But not wanting to get ahead of myself… what I’d like to do is just tell the world about any great books I’ve come across in Italian, and if the world wants to give me a call, well, I’m here. But don’t worry world, I won’t be too upset if it doesn’t happen right away. That’s the good thing about stories, there’s always another, even better one out there that might be my ticket to translation fame and fortune!