Welcome to Italy, to a village on the Amalfi Coast. Welcome to Mamma Maria!
This bar is like no other. With its sea view, good humor and the typical dolce vita atmosphere that reign there, this paradise for good meals is the lungs of the hamlet. Between scopa games and aperitifs, everyone finds themselves there ritualistically. Its owner Maria is a local personality all to herself. A 65-year-old woman without complex, she has her heart set on her feet. She is a beautiful person with spontaneous and disinterested human warmth, who worries about her family on a daily basis, who is “always ready to help others and defend the most vulnerable”. Its regulars are like its children. They pay him back. Like a “mamma”, she has led her little world by wand for forty years and no one sees anything wrong with it. Because everyone loves Maria (except her daughter-in-law, her scapegoat) and because her bar is a second home to be in.
Sofia is finally back there. Leaving Paris, her adopted city and her studio, turning her back on those six months of disillusionment and her disappointment in love, to return home, was the best thing this book translator could do. Either way, she was “not planning to live the rest of her life in a country other than her own,” far from the familiar smells and colors of her hometown. And then, Maria’s pastas are second to none! And what more beautiful office can she have than this living bar to the sound of Celentano where she can “write to the sound of small cups that clash, horns, the cries of Lucia who sells fruit right in front and who orders passers-by to come and buy them for him? ”
But now the peaceful life of this village punctuated by the Mediterranean breeze is disrupted and put to the test by the arrival of Souma. 25-year-old Lybian, she fled her country. Seven months pregnant, she came to find refuge with Mustafa, her two-year-old son in Franco’s henhouse, who discovered them, “frozen, hungry and frightened” while trying to look for eggs. Faced with their distress, the octogenarian widower decides to take them under his control. However, this charitable act will not be unanimous; migrants being frowned upon by a large majority of the villagers and Italy closing its borders. Precisely, will this outstretched hand serve as an example by awakening a surge of anti-segregationist solidarity and by overcoming prejudices? Will newcomers be welcomed, accommodated and integrated to offer them a better life?
“Mamma Maria” by Serena Giuliano, a two-part novel for a lesson in humanism, tolerance, fraternity and integration into the universal dimension on an Italian “bottom of sauce”. A nice summer invitation to travel to the Publisher Cherche Midi.