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Copertina di Paolo Falcon

Introduction

Raccontare Venezia - "Tell a Story from Venice" - that is like saying a city which is loved throughout the world but seldom perceived in its broader sense. This is what was asked of many writers, some of whom Venetian, and it led to the selection of thirteen short stories for this collection. There comes out a heterogeneous, yet contradictory picture and it reflects the history and tradition of the city.
Besides, stereotypes for which Venice is universally well-known, play an active role as they are very much an integral part of this city.
This book can also be seen as a sort of tourist literary guide with which, in the third millennium, you can explore the historical lagoon stones without prejudices and see them in their contemporary essence.
Since we set an age limit of forty to be eligible for this collection, the thirteen authors can somehow be defined as "young narrators" if such a definition can be considered valid. Futhermore, they were advised to use real places in Venice as far as possible.
I like to remember how the idea for this book first came about. With the encouragement of Giovanni di Stefano (manager of the publishing house "Supernova"), the poet Marco Piamonte and I developed it into its present form in the bookshop "La Ginestra" that he runs near St Mark's square. Raccontare Venezia is also the first volume of the series "la ginestralibri".
As the authors and the editor were often in different places, this project was mainly developed "virtually," by e-mail, through an ever stimulating dialogue between them. The focal point of all this activity, was the web site www.laginestralibri.it, where it is now possible to buy this collection on-line. Indeed, an entire section of the web site is devoted to Raccontare Venezia and the reader can actively take part in the flourishing dialogue.
So let me introduce the stories and their authors. What does it feel like to drown in a Venetian canal with your grotesque and horrendous grandmother, whose only pastime consisted of finding all possible ways of taking out her anger on her grandson? Domenico Laviola describes it in Venetian Psycho, a terrifying account of adolescence in Venice.
Stories of mysterious murders enliven the conversation of barmen and customers in a pub; headlines of the local daily paper arouse curiosity and fear. L'Assassino by Andrea Curcione is a real thriller, and who knows if it is that far from truth.
In Goodnight Mick by Eric Milano, there are minimalistic quotations which hark back to some of the American traditions of the 80s and they are reworked to be deliberately scandalous It is likely to provoke controversy; however, themes such as drugs and sex in a Venetian setting, albeit strong, should be interpreted as provocative.
Is it possible to fall in love with a beautiful girl who is waitressing at the tables of a bar while you watch a multicoloured melting pot of people going past two large windows and hope for inspiration for your travel diary? This is shown by Cristiano Chiusso in Cafè Noir.
There is a peculiar, solitary, nocturnal and directionless kind of wandering from bar to bar moving amongst young students and local customers. This is the scene that Lorenzo Cavalli describes in L'ultimo rosso.
It could be a dream, a nightmare or an independent short story; it is me and my Venice - a pocket-sized island: this is what Sabrina Bastioni claims when describing her Nocivo.
In the Venetian lagoon, far from prying eyes, there is the Island of Magic and of the Enchanted World which conceals imaginary and mythological creatures in its shadows. A difficult love, a myhtological fairy-tale, at intervals deliberately moralistic: this is what Federica Repetto proposes in Miti e magie nella Laguna nord.
The short story Nemesi di un mito by Ivo Lombardo, is presented with features of a thriller. The discovery of a woman's body in a canal leads Inspector Berti to make inquires into the intriguing Venetian world of artists.
Ancora per poco by Gian Sarto opens with glimpes of past civilazations. The story is a series of terrifying accounts of events set in Venice which cannot leave the reader indifferent, because of the strength and the deep-felt sincerity with which they are described.
And the mainland? Even when it is not explicitly mentioned, the duality which distinguishes it from Venice clearly emerges. Alessandra Taffon (Pensieri sull'autobus) highlights the different "commercial" dimension between the numerous shopping malls to which many Venetians now flock, and the small local activities which are dying out.
In Tre giornate Simone Sambo describes the troubled and funny odyssey of a working student who alternates university life with hours spent at work or with his girlfriend. The endemic generational confusion of the protagonist is everpresent.
The ancestral memories and current feelings of a curious creature which is half mouse half man, characterize the short chapters of the story Paura by Giovanni Porpora. The unusual protagonist divides Venice into mental zones where space and time alternate incessantly.
In Anime by Roberto Taddio, the narrator relives his "return to Venice" which is full of memories and atmosphere that have become evanescent over time but conflicting emotions are still strong.
Finally, I wish to thank the architect Paolo Falcon who helped us to create the book-cover.

I hope you enjoy this collection.

Riccardo Petito