When I moved to Italy in 2010, part of the reason was to have the freedom to work on a lifelong creative passion: writing fiction. It took ten years and a pandemic to realise that while I had been writing the whole time, I had only been sharing my stories with members of my writing group in Rome and some close friends. I started the Laurenissima series on this blog and launched a literary magazine but I was holding back my fiction waiting for the moment when I would be somehow more qualified to try to publish it. I looked at my collection of short stories, I edited, I curated, I researched and I found a small Italian publisher via my dear friend and fellow-author Flavia Brunetti (author of All the Way to Italy) and in what felt the blink of an eye (though I’d been waiting for that day since I was 8 years old) my book was going to be published.
But I decided to make it more complicated.
I wrote all these stories in English but I live in Italy and since many of the stories dealt with language, translation and understanding, I wanted this book to be published in parallel text with English on one side and a facing page of Italian on the opposite. I found a translator, Alessia Mennitti and we set to work on the not so easy task not just of translating words from one language to another but transmitting style and sentiment as well. Luca Misuri provided the cover art from his photography collection “Crumbling World” and a chat with a friend in Rome, Rachel Zitin, found the title.
The result is Intermezzo: a collection of seven short stories in parallel text published by Ali Ribelli Edizioni in the summer of 2022.
The stories in this collection center on moments of change, of crossing the threshold, of going through the gate. Some characters experience the fragmentation of making a home in a foreign land, speaking new languages, of falling into or out of love, or of growing up. One is a ghost story, one based on historical events, one about a child caught between two languages in his own home, one about a girl discovering her limits, another discovering her worth.
In these middle spaces between one form of being and another, one language and another, reality is something moldable, changeful, bordering on magical in the sense of the word that is “beautiful or delightful in a way that seems removed from everyday life.” These are the intermezzo – the bridge, the act between two greater acts, when anything is possible. Letting go of the known can be surreal, even terrifying but in this territory lies the possibility of new life, new understanding. It’s the realm of metamorphosis, the realm of transformation.
The parallel text itself is a reminder that there’s always another way to see the world and to tell a story.
Whether you are interested in practicing your Italian with the parallel text, or you can relate to the feeling of being in the “Intermezzo” I hope you enjoy this short collection of stories and, if you do, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads and help spread the word about Intermezzo! And as always, please write me with any comments, feedback or questions. I’d love to hear from you.
Upcoming Book Event Online
Along with the in person book launches in Rome and Florence, I invite you to join me on December 10th at 7pm Italy time for a conversation with Heather Johnson, author of the young adult mystery adventure novel 1500 (set in Venice!). If you would like to join, write me at Lauren.email@example.com and I’ll add your email to the zoom link!
Yay! We have a published author in the family, the first—I think—since your Grandfather Mouat wrote several textbooks. But he never had his books translated into Italian. Well done. Kathy and I are impressed that you move in so many circles in Italy. Is that where you learned to create dialogue? By listening? An American writer living in Venice, Donna Leon, has written a series of detective novels dealing with Venetian society. Although she’s had her works translated into several languages, she refuses to have them translated into Italian. Perhaps she’s afraid of offending the city planners or police. It’s not as if Venetians don’t know English or other languages. So that makes you even more unique! By the way, I must ask you: did you get part of the idea for “Ghost Story” from your own broken window at 800 Menlo Oaks Drive? It had been that way forever. I can see how easy a fantasy could emerge. My favorite, by the way.