by Gianfranco Menghini
If it holds out, my friend
In this ten-letter novel, all the hardships that the first-time author must face before seeing his own published book are revealed.If it holds out, my friend: the novel of a thousand vicissitudes, but also the discovery of an unknown world in the beautiful and fertile countryside of Avellino.The protagonist of the story is a semi-novice author which, once the money is set aside, does everything to try to publish his book. On this tortuous journey, he will meet strange characters who will do anything to take advantage of him. It will be a rundown of scenes and situations the author knows well: mutual friends who are not so many friends, literary agents, so to speak “out of the norm,” even a visit to Montecitorio to speak with an honorable… All will be told to freewheel by the same author, who describing in detail every situation, which happens to him, sees gradually the almost sacred idea inside each of us when it comes to publishing a book: the conviction of doing something useful, indeed of excellence, it becomes bitter resignation of a world where culture matters very little in the passage of the pages.The dream among much bitterness in this novelIF IT HOLDS OUT, MY FRIEND puts the accent on a real problem of Italian publishing, without. However, blaming or issuing sentences. This book made of small, big bitterness, is an inner journey to be read between the lines. Will the debut author’s dream come true? You will only find out by reading…
Read an excerpt from the book
The preliminaries are useless because I must tell you what happened to me in Rome, and I should not confuse myself if I start this letter in the usual stereotypical ways that they used in the correspondence.
So: this time I have left by train. Too much traffic on the roads and with these vacationers who use the car only in the summer, since when they circulate in the city, the same are not driving by themselves but the flow of traffic takes them from one side to the other, it could be dangerous to cross even they can barely read – write, I do not tell you – figure you if they know the basic rules of the Rule of the road. But if they do not even know which of their hands is the right and which the left, do you imagine when coming from the left, if they give you the precedence? It should put a barrier like those of level crossings to stop them. And then, the train, away … it’s been twenty years since I’ve not climbed on it. I wanted to see how it worked. With all the advertising of Trenitalia that bombards your brain every time you turn on the TV even if you change channels. However, they really make that pigeon sit on the seat, so nice, new – the seat. I mean – that you think that at any moment you make us on a little shit … but! I saw it, better indeed. It is at on it. I had taken a sneak peek at the second-class once when I had to cross the whole carriage to go occupy my place. That velvet seat with red rhomboidal designs is only in the first place. It’s clear about the message, isn’t? Do book the lace, do not want to make the trip on foot. Nevertheless, the railroad managers do not take in the account the habits of Italians who prefer to die like flies on the roads rather than travel by train. Then, if there is a train accident which counts that counts seven or eight dead, the whole country falls into mourning more narrowly, not taking into account the eighty and more victims and three times the wounded who drop by drop make up that scary number on all Italian roads, only for a weekend of holiday makers. Well, do you want to put? About fifty in Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria, another twenty in the three Venetian regions, two in Puglia, three in Sardinia – but they were three youngsters a little ‘made of out of the disco – a dozen between Calabria and Sicily and five others in Maremma in those roads that the friendly Tuscans, feeling the only keepers of the landscape so familiar to them, want to keep it as in the time of transportation with the quadrupeds and the dead … but that they learn to drive and then, what is all this mania to turn into long and off the peninsula?! However, if they stay in their home or come, dear sirs and madams, come too’, perhaps arriving on foot or by train to fill hotels, tourist villages and now even the farms for what they are cunningly baptized with a ridiculous euphemism: farmhouse. Live in the middle of the animals with their stinks, droppings and so on. No one ever cares about the smell. How wonderful to escape from the bad smells and the clamor of crowded cities and, after so much sacrifice, go on holiday to work but, above all, to smell the nauseating stenches of the countryside where the shit with straw is called stabling. Then there are the farm animals and the pigeons. And the horse, in Maremma, as it lacks the horse, and finally the dogs, beautiful those Maremmans so white and helpful to the owner, but also them … but that stink! The good Tuscans are more affectionate to the vision. Do you want to put? Seeing those fast pylons which support the asphalt ribbon of the planned highway piercing the aforethought highway which go to the hole the rich hill is much, but much worse than hearing the stenches, walking on the dirt of the beaches and pay attention to the many sheds amid the natural colors of the countryside. And, not to contrast the line held by the cousins of Livorno who, in order to safeguard, according to them, the interests of their city, have always prevented the construction of the motorway link between Livorno and Civitavecchia, but also the doubling of the Aurelia which caused over time, the death of five hundred human beings, and we do not know how many animals, not to mention the injured on that trap of the old road, designed and paved by the ancient Romans who run shelters there themselves at their pleasure, but with the chariots which, as you know, they could not run any longer and then at the most they broke their necks one or two and did not involve innocent drivers who came from the opposite side.
With the train, you see the panorama, and how, if you glance at it. I removed the view for less than twenty-minute running of the rolling hills that the Maremma should not want to hole. The landscape is unwatched, with the thick spontaneous vegetation grown along the railway which works like the diaphragm of an electronic camera shooting like a machine gun preventing you to see beyond, and if you are not able to appreciate yourself to some interesting foreshortening, is such the annoyance you feel for those continuous interruptions, that you prefer to leaf through the weekly magazine already read in its main lines. And when you arrive in Civitavecchia after enjoying some glimpse of the sea, to deceive yourself to be previously in Rome, and instead it lacks more than seventy kilometers of tunnels, galleries and when, breathing a sigh of relief, the train comes out, under the eye begins to flow a sequence of ugly trees which only they have found the courage and the strength to grow along the railway.
At last, after the stop in all the stations of Rome, the Ostiense, Tuscolana, Prenestina, the happy arrival at Termini. Not so pleased, though, because it misses to me to walk with my luggage at least four hundred meters of the platform, since the first class are…